Relapses, Exacerbations & Flare-ups

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For many people, ME/CFS is a variable and very individual illness with periods of relapse and relative recovery – which is why it is often described as a fluctuating medical condition. In this leaflet we explain what you can expect from a relapse, likely causes, and how to manage a setback in your health.

For many people, ME/CFS is a variable and very individual illness with periods of relapse and relative recovery – which is why it is often described as a fluctuating medical condition. Even so, many people reach a point at which their condition stabilises to some degree – sometimes described as ‘a glass ceiling' – from which they may then find it very difficult to make any further significant and/or sustained progress. Within this model of outcome, exacerbations or flare-ups can be minor and relatively short-lived. Occasionally they are more severe and prolonged – when the term relapse is more appropriate.

Topics discussed in this leaflet include: What causes relapses and symptom exacerbations? Prevention: Activity Management, Infection, Stress, Symptom Control, Temperature Extremes, Trauma, Anaesthetics and Surgery, Medication, Menopause, Vaccinations, How to cope with a relapse, When to see the doctor, Helpful tips from the patient community.

Telephone Helpline

The ME Association telephone helpline – ME Connect – is available every day of the year, during the hours of 10am-12noon, 2pm-4pm and 7pm-9pm. Please phone: 0344 576 5326 if you have any questions or would simply like to talk to someone who is there to listen.

Please note: Once you have made payment and checked out from the website shop, you will receive a confirmation email containing direct download links to your leaflets. Click the links and you can read your leaflets on-screen and save to your computer, phone, or other device. But you will need access to a printer if you wish them printed.

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