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I am feeling miserable right now, up in the middle of the night with a cold/flu. Most likely a cold not the flu - but I have a low grade fever, sore throat, have lost my voice, sinus pressure and congestion. I have been worried and anxious - I am actually thinking this has something to do with MS as anxiety and heart palpitations were my first symptoms that something was wrong about 9 months ago. I don't believe that I just happened to develop anxiety (something I've never had before) exactly at the same time that I started having other MS symptoms such as tingling/numbness) But that's not related to what I am asking about.

I am having a hard time with the fact that I don't really understand what is happening to me. I've tried to read about Tecfidera, but everything I read is so super vague. Also about MS too. I've read all kinds of things but it doesn't make it any clearer to me. I really want to understand the science behind it.

At this particular moment, I want to know about Tecfidera and if it actually lowers your immune response when it comes to fighting infections/colds as well, or is limited to reducing the immune response that the MS is causing.

Should I treat a cold just like I used to, or is it more likely I will develop an infection as a result of a this cold and should I be more proactive about seeing my doctor when I am sick. But at the same time, I don't want to reach for antibiotics every time I am sick, especially if I don't need them. And if I go to the doctor, that's what he will do -write me a prescription for antibiotics.
Hi Sarabeach. I have been where you are and its a miserable experience. Hang in there, it WILL get better.

Tecfidera or dimethyl fumarate has an Unknown mechanism, meaning they do not know why or how it works to help reduce relapses. Originally this drug was designed for Psoriasis, and was then found to help with MS.

It can lower the white blood cells in your body, which can make you more susceptible to getting infections. Keep in mind, a COLD is not an infection. If you have a run of the mill cold- it wasnt caused by being on Tecfidera- and you will not get sicker because you are on Tecfidera. If you have a run of the mill cold, they wouldnt prescribe you antibiotics- because a COLD isnt bacterial. The bigger question is : is it only a cold? And, how do you know?

How long have you had it? Are over the counter cold medicines helping at all? Yes, you can take them....if they are helping, and you are pretty sure that it is nothing more than an average cold, write this off to coincidence. Treat the cold and get on with your life.....if this turns into bronchitis, or something which DOES need antibiotics- you really do need to discuss with your Neurologist the cons vs. the pros of this drug. You wouldnt be the first person not to be able to take it....

The side effects listed have nothing to do with colds or respiratory infections- flushing, upset stomach, the common side effects, you seem to be handling for the most part.

You asked should you treat the cold like you usually do? The answer is yes. You should...however, if the cold symptoms do not ease up within 3 days or if you develop high fevers (over 101) or if you start feeling worse, have trouble breathing, or anything which seems extreme, you should definately call your neurologist immediately.

The worse part of MS the first year is figuring out what is what. Is it MS related or is it normal. All of us have been there and I remember it being quite confusing and scary. As you have MS for awhile, youll start knowing your body better and realizing that not everything has to do with MS (or the treatment you are on). You just have to hang in there...

A cold stinks whether you have MS or not, but it can take alot more out of MSers. Get extra sleep. Try to hydrate extensively...as much water/ juice/ tea as you can get in you....rest. Let the cold run its course....as long as there is nothing more than the average cold symptoms going on, youre going to be just fine and have nothing to worry about. There are no over the counter drugs you cant take with Tecfidera- take whatever you usually take. Cold Medicines, Tylenol, anything for a cold...take nightime stuff if you have to, the benedryl in it will put you to sleep and you need to rest.

Try not to worry. Easier said than done, I know...call your doctor and speak to the nurse if it makes you feel better, but overall, just remember, you would have gotten a cold even if you didnt have MS and even if you werent on Tecfidera. I hope this helps alittle. Feel better soon.
MSNik
sarabeach123,

MSer's have an immune system in hyperdrive. The various meds for MS attempt to slow this down by suppressing the immune system. This can unfortunately leave MSers on meds susceptible to illnesses around them. Getting a flu shot is something your doctor should be foretold and their advice taken to heart.

When I "feel" a cold approaching, I will take 3000-6000 mg of vitamin C until 2-3 days after the "feeling" has passed. This works for me. I spread my C out evenly through the day into 3 or 4 doses for a total of 3000 - 6000 mg. I have not had a cold since 2002 when my MS worsened, but I have had 3-4 occasions when I had a "feeling". I have had yearly flu shots since bacterial pneumonia nearly killed me back in the mid 90s. After a relapse of pneumonia, my doctor put me on a flu shot priority. Again, because you are on meds, this is something to discuss with your doctor.

Treat is like a cold for now, but if you feel it is worsening, then by all means ask your doctor. If it goes to bronchitis, you will likely need antibiotics, but your doctor will be in the best position.

As we enter the indoor crowded season (cold and flu season), treat yourself as you would do so to ward of colds and infections. hydration, hygiene, and rest. It is a bummer to get a cold and the added stress does not help.

What you are experiencing now would be good to monitor in a symptom journal as it might happen again in the future. Knowing what is a cold and what is MS or what is an illness which is unrelated to MS is knowledge which you can accumulate. MS affects MSers uniquely. You need to learn your triggers and signals. This provides you with control over your MS to a degree. Signals and triggers can change over time.

If you are not feeling better in 2 -3 days or are running a long term fever, ask to see the doctor. Do let us know if you are feeling better soon. I would also make note of the cold just to be able to remember to share it with the doctor the next time you are there. :) I will keep you in my prayers. Rest well. :angel:





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