Temporary worsening of symptoms and COVID-19

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic can be felt in many ways. Many people are stressed, not sleeping and much more. It is an important time to note that a number of factors can result in the reappearance or worsening of MS symptoms (sometimes referred to as a pseudo-relapse).

You may find that your symptoms get worse if you're particularly tired or stressed and that once you've had time to rest, your symptoms ease. It can be difficult to tell whether or not symptoms are a result of a relapse or a pseudo-relapse. Information to help you identify this can be found here

There are a number of factors that can cause MS symptoms to worsen for a short period of time. These include;


A fluctuation in temperature can cause symptoms to appear to worsen for a short period of time. A fever or change in body temperature due to exertion during exercise or being in a hot, stuffy room can cause this.  Managing your temperature both internally and externally will help. Using fans, opening windows, cool showers, cold drinks and light clothing can all assist with this. You might find it useful to have a bowl of cool water and a flannel beside you to make it easy and convenient to wipe down and cool down your face and hands regularly. Once you've cooled down, you should find the symptoms settle down.

At this time, people may find that they are experiencing additional stress. Stress can make any symptom seem worse and evidence suggests that stress can trigger MS relapses. Trying to manage your stress levels at this time is very important. Here you will find helpful tips for managing stress

If you are unwell, for example, if you have a cold or an infection of any kind, including COVID-19 you may find that your MS symptoms get worse. Once you've recovered from the cold or treated the infection, your symptoms should start to improve. However, please be aware that a more severe infection can trigger a relapse, so if you continue to feel unwell despite treating the infection, you should contact your MS nurse or GP.

If you are in doubt about the symptoms you are experiencing it is best to make contact with a member of your healthcare team