By: Dr Alex Robber
It’s cold and flu season again. And if you’re living with fibromyalgia, you can particularly try this time of year. That’s because two of the most prevalent symptoms of fibromyalgia are all-over musculoskeletal pain and tiredness similar emotions to those encountered with poor cold or flu. Indeed, about half of fibromyalgia patients experience a “flu-like” disease that precedes the development of their symptoms.
So how do you understand if you’ve got flu, or if you’ve got fibromyalgia owing to your aches and pains? There are significant variations in which you can see, including:
- Fevers are not caused by Fibromyalgia. Some patients will say their temperature is a bit greater or lower, states Kim Jones, PhD, an associate professor at Portland’s Oregon Health and Science University and head of the Fibromyalgia Information Foundation. But fibromyalgia does not cause spikes in fever from fighting an infection.
- Cough and congestion are not caused by fibromyalgia. Classic cold symptoms are not symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as coughs, sniffles, a runny nose, and a sore throat.
Protect Yourself with the Flu Vaccine
While avoiding flu is simpler than dealing with it, many individuals with fibromyalgia are concerned that a flu shot will cause a flare-up of symptoms of fibromyalgia. There is no established connection between vaccines and fibromyalgia, according to the Arthritis Foundation. While some studies have suggested that fibromyalgia may be associated with rubella or Lyme disease vaccines, there is little study to back up these allegations.
If you’re worried about possible flu vaccine responses, anything that develops is likely to be milder and shorter than 10 days of flu. It is also advisable for individuals who fall into any of the following organizations to get an annual flu shot:
- 50 or older
- Those with other chronic health issues, such as diabetes or impaired immunity
- Those with fragile communities, such as young kids or elderly adults.
Talk to your doctor if you need pneumonia vaccination as well.
Coping with Flus and Colds
If this cold and flu season you get sick, here’s how to assist you feel better:
- Beverage of liquids. Staying well hydrated is essential to feel your best with fibromyalgia, but it is even more crucial in dry winter months and when you try to fight off or handle a dehydrated fever.
- Take acetaminophen (Tylenol). If you want to relieve aches and pains of fibromyalgia or flu symptoms or a vaccination’s pain, take acetaminophen instead of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) that have not been shown to relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia and may cause more gastrointestinal pain.
- Treat the symptoms you have. Colds and flu are diseases of the virus; therefore, antibiotics will not assist. But to feel better, there are methods you can treat your symptoms. If you are taking prescription medicines for fibromyalgia or other health conditions, be sure to check with your doctor or read labels to prevent any adverse cough and cold medicines interactions.
- Prevention of infections. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer to wash your hands often and minimize your contact with sick people. Fibromyalgia is not a low immunity condition, but it is good to avoid disease exposure wherever possible.
Finally, if you’re confused when to contact your doctor, follow Jones ‘ advice: “Your health care provider is worth running new headaches that are different from any in the past, and new symptoms that you haven’t encountered in recent months.” Stay Healthizes!