Tips for Coping with Fibromyalgia Winter Bugs

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Winter bugs are tough for anyone to deal with, but are especially hard for someone with a long-term disease like fibromyalgia syndrome, which causes aches and pains and long-term fatigue. Winter bugs include colds, flu and the winter vomiting virus a highly infectious virus that causes sickness and diarrhea.

Avoiding the Bugs

During any outbreak of flu and other winter bugs, it is a good idea for everybody (whether they have fibromyalgia syndrome or not) to get into the habit of washing hands regularly, including people suffering from the winter bugs. If water isn’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer these are widely available from chemists and supermarkets, and are not expensive.

If at all possible, avoid people who obviously have flu or other winter bugs – though this is not always practical, especially if close family members are ill and need looking after. Wash towels regularly (or asks someone else to), and get the cold or flu sufferer to throw used tissues away rather than leaving them around.

A flu vaccination

A flu vaccination is may be a good idea, especially for people who have other health issues on top of fibromyalgia syndrome, such as diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart disease. Some people may find that a flu vaccination triggers a fibromyalgia syndrome flare, so should discuss with a doctor the balance between the importance of avoiding flu and the risk of a symptom flare.

Boost your immune system

Boost your immune system by making sure that you get enough rest. December is a busy month with lots to do, but make sure that you take time out to rest and put your feet up occasionally.  Maybe plan ahead and create a manageable schedule to cross things off your ‘to do’ list. 

Wherever possible enlist some help.  If you can delegate tasks to others, then that’s great!  Just remember to try to avoid taking any long naps during the daytime, as this could affect your sleep pattern during the night. Boost your immune system by eating well. It’s easy to indulge in fatty, sweet foods during the festive season, but remember to make sure you get your share of immune-boosting nutrients.  Remember to get your five-a-day and eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Maintain Normal Routines and Practice Self-Care

Now that you’ve gotten your severe winter weather supplies ready, listened to the news you need to stay informed & checked in on loved ones … try to do what you would normally do! In fact, use the severe weather as motivation to be as healthy as possible- Exercise indoors, eat well-balanced meals, etc.

Maintaining normal routines is also important for kids in the home to ease any anxiety they may have. If you’re able, also use the winter weather as a reason to do things you might not normally make the time to do by yourself or with loved ones- cook a long, slow meal; watch a fun movie; take up that knitting project that you haven’t touched in years; play a game together; go sledding during the day if the kids are out of school. 

If the power goes out, try to make the most of that, too, by reading a book by flashlight, telling stories- make it an adventure to help distract younger kids and keep older kids from getting bored.

Antiviral medications

Antibiotics will not help with viruses, such as colds, flu or the winter vomiting virus, unless there is a secondary infection such as a chest infection. For bouts of flu, however, there are antiviral medications available on prescription go to the doctor at the first signs of flu to ask whether these might be helpful.

Generally, coping with bugs is the same for people with and without fibromyalgia syndrome rest, get plenty of fluids, and keep warm. Replacing any fluids lost through not eating or after diarrhea or sickness is vital. It is especially important to eat well when suffering from winter bugs, even if the illness reduces the appetite try plain, nutrient-filled foods like chicken soup, made with plenty of fresh vegetables.

Over the counter medications

Over the counter medications like cold remedies, or simply ibuprofen or paracetamol, will help with cold and flu symptoms but check that these will not interact with existing prescription medications. Unless someone with diarrhea and vomiting is running the risk of becoming severely dehydrated, it’s probably better not to use drugs to stop this it will speed the body getting rid of the virus and any toxins caused by the virus. Keep drinking clear fluids.

Limit Exposure to Media

Turn on, tune in or log on to get the news you need to stay aware and get ready for the storm, but work to limit your exposure and that of any kids in the home. Sometimes too much news can actually lead to higher levels of stress because of constant exposure to potentially distressing images or language like ‘storm of the century’, etc. Commit to only checking news on the hour every hour for headlines if there is important information that you need to know, it will be featured then.

Sugar

Sugar puts a huge strain on the immune system and depletes vitamins and minerals in the digestion and elimination of it from the body. Be careful of hidden sugars in yoghurts, cereals, cereal bars, fruit juice snacks such fruit bars and even raisins. Ideally the only sugar that your baby/toddler consumes on a daily basis should be that that cones from whole fruit.

 

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Reference:

  • Tips For Coping With Fibromyalgia & Winter Bugs via Brain Barr

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