ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Distinguish a Real Ms Flare-up From a Pseudo Flare-up

Updated on April 23, 2019
Jen's Solitude profile image

I was diagnosed with the relapsing/remitting form of MS in 1993. I am happy to share my knowledge for these and other related health issues.


Pseudo Flare-up Explained

People with MS contend with pseudo flare-ups? the false-positive nature of MS. Understand this part of MS helps in managing the disease, which is always changing.

MS can flare-up and before you know it, calm right back down again. It doesn't mean the disease is progressing or that there is a need to be unduly concerned. It means a pseudo flare-up is taking place.a pseudo flare-up clears up quickly, as soon as the problem causing the flare-up is handled. Also, unlike a real flare-up, no central nervous system damage is taking place.

What is a Pseudo Flare-Up?

A pseudo flare-up feels just like the real thing. That's because it is the real thing. Some mistakenly refer to it as a fake flare-up, implying you are imagining things, or feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Getting to the root cause can help symptoms settle down. Left unchecked, the problem will continue to manifest itself.

What Caused My Pseudo Flares


I remember the number one cause of my pseudo flares was oddly enough a sinus infection. In truth any infection can cause a pseudo flare. Most infections cause some kind of increase in core body temperature. And what is the worse thing for MS? An increase in body temperature. The body responds just like an electrical chord responds when it is frayed, it gets open patches that prevents the smooth supply of electricity. Elevated body temperature, even just a degree, shorts out our electrical connections from our brains to our nerves and muscles and kaos ensues.

I have made more than one trip to the emergency room for what I thought was a sudden attack, only to discover I had a fever due to the fact that my sinuses were infected. One time I was in the ER with a temperature of 103 degrees. As soon as I was re-hydrated and my temperature came down, all the MS symptoms disappeared too. It got to the point that I would ask the attending to check my sinuses when I had to go to the ER, just to save time. If the doctor found an infection, all that was needed were antibiotics and a Tylenol -type over the counter drug, to lower my fever. Eventual I didn't even go to the ER when it happened, instead, I recognized the symptoms and would go to my primary doctor to treat the infection before it had time to get a firm hold on my MS and send it into overdrive.

Other Types of Infections or Conditions


Many people with MS suffer from chronic UTI's (urinary tract infections) this type of infection does not mix well at all with MS. Drink plenty of cranberry juice as a preventative, and seek medical help as soon as an infection takes hold, to prevent a full-scale launch of MS symptoms.

A Cold or Virus

Be mindful that a cold or virus may slow down nerve conduction just enough to trigger your MS symptoms.

Hazy-Hot-Humid Weather.

Is toughest on walking ability. The brain may feel as if it is shuttng down making thinking and talking a major struggle.

Most people with MS find their symptoms act up when it is 75 or above. Seek shelter in an air-conditioned environment until it passes.


Vigorous exercise can cause a pseudo flare-up. The secret to exercising is finding your body's toleration point. Your body's tolerance can be a hard pill to swallow. It is not good to and muscle through a work-out and make your body obey your commands. Exercise is good for MS as long as warning signs are heeded and limitations observed when need be.

If you feel like a limp noodle after you exercise and you don't recover in say an hour or so, you are exercising too much and you are flaring up your MS.

Scary but Manageable

While experiencing different symptoms may at first be alarming, adjusting becomes easier with time. Being in tune with the body's signals and warnings can help to lessen the frequency and severity of flare-ups due to uncontrollable circumstances. Self-examination of activity and behavior can be useful in determining when an adjustment of actions or attitude is needed. It is possible to do most things as long as allowances are made in advance.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Great information. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      9 years ago from Delaware

      Hi sarafri198, don't worry at all if your thoughts are scattered. I have no problem following your concerns.

      Do you have a fever by any chance? Even a slight rise in body temperature is hurtful where MS is concerned. I have frequent sinus problems and my first clue that I have a slight fever is that my arms and legs get weak. Usually after I have rested the weakness eases up and I take that to mean I have to let my body fight the sinus problem and rest even if I'm bored. In that way my body doesn't have to work so hard.

      I am glad you have an appointment coming up so soon. It is good for your neuro to see you when symptoms are acting up as it helps him to get a complete picture.

      I don't need testing because I know I have a problem with mold and when the mold level rises I get flare-up like symptoms. I try to stay out of places where mold is higher and eventually I began to feel better.

      My e-mail address is at the top right hand side where it says "contact Jen's Solitude" please feel free to use it whenever you want. It certainly does help to have someone answer your questions and settle your nerves. We have all turned to the MS community in that way.

      Don't forget to rest today, OK?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      When you have a cold/ virus and see a new symptom, how long does it usually take to go away? I have a possible diagnosis of MS based on a few symptoms I had at the end of Dec/ beginning of January. I started coming down with a cold/ allergies this past Tuesday and it got pretty bad on Thursday and Friday. Friday morning, I woke up with my right leg and arm feeling pretty weak but I was able to regain control and walk normally/ use my arm and hand comfortably after a few hours. However, on Saturday, Sunday and today (Monday), I woke up with a similar feeling only this time the muscle weakness didn't go away with walking/ time and its even difficult for me to write and type with my right hand. I still have a bit of a runny nose so I guess I'm not completely over my cold's just a bit scary not being able to walk the way I used to a few days ago. I set up an appt to see my neurologist tomorrow. Did you guys get allergy tested? Sorry for my scattered talking and random questions..I'm just worried and don't really know who to talk to about this. Thanks!

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      10 years ago from Delaware

      Hi DTroth! It is a pleasure to meet you. Yes both sinus problems and allergies convince me I am about to flare at this time of the year. Hopefully I will get through the next two months with no major exacerbation. Stay well!

    • DTroth profile image

      Diana Owens 

      10 years ago from My Little Hole In The Wall, HubPages, USA

      Hi Jen.

      Thank you for the great info! Very useful! I haven't had any urinary tract infections (knock on wood), but I do suffer from sinus problems. ...and I know what you mean about the heat of summer. It totally kicks my butt!

      I look forward to reading more of your hubs!


    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      11 years ago from Delaware

      Hi Anya,

      I'm so glad you find this information helpful. You know I can totally understand catching germs when you are around others, what I hate is catching something when I'm home and away from those who are sick. I recently had an intestinal bug, with no discernible source, other than the people who were around my husband. He wasn't sick, so guess he was just the carrier of the bug. :(

      Getting to know Kath has been wonderful. She has introduced me to so many great people. I really appreciate her.

      Thanks for leaving a comment, Anya

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      thanks for the information. I have not had a UTI but I will look out for infections the next time I feel a flare coming on. I do notice that if I am around ppl who are sick with cold, viruses, etc., I will begin to have symptoms. this is great info and I am glad Kathy posted this link for us.

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      12 years ago from Delaware

      Kath, glad your nurse was able to help you determine the cause of the pseudo flares. As if MS alone, isn't enough to worry about, eh? Thanks for the comment. :)

    • kathavfm profile image


      12 years ago from Stourbridge UK

      Hi Jen

      Just came over after you left a comment on my one very meagre hub maybe one day I'll write as much as you!)


      Yes , I had a lot of pseudo flare ups until my MS nurse suggested I might have a UTI. Indeend I am very prone to UTIs. Sure enough that's what it was and now I permanently have a supply on antibiotics on hand and dip sticks to test my urine if I'm suspicious.

      These infections seems to be asymptomatic for me, ( apart form the MS symptoms) which is good I don't  have to suffer them but bad that I can't see it coming !




    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)