|Image from NASA of a pipsqueak star unleashing a monster flare|
First off, how cool is that picture?! If only my "monster flares" were as impressive.
Instead when I'm having a flare-up, you can usually find me in bed sleeping. Or on the sofa sleeping. Or dragging myself through my day wishing I were sleeping. You'll also get to see me being pretty crabby. Achiness, fatigue, extra red eyes (because the usual redness just isn't enough), an inability to get my fingers to bend or work right, painful knees. . . it doesn't bring out the best in me, I'm afraid. I could go on, but I'm sure no one wants to hear it, especially if you know first-hand what I'm talking about.
Everyone's flares are different, but when your meds suddenly don't seem to be working, your symptoms are noticeably worse, or new symptoms show up, it's probably a flare.
There are some things we can do to make flares less likely, though some of them are easier than others:
- Taking our daily meds
- Avoiding stress
- Taking allergy meds, especially in the spring and fall, if necessary
- Getting enough Vitamin D and other supplements
- Getting lots of sleep
- Following a diet plan that works for you (anti-inflammatory, gluten-free, etc.)
- Not trying to do it all on our own
- Managing our spoons
But sometimes no matter what we do, a flare-up strikes. So, how can we cope?
- Ask for help
- Get extra rest (if you can't sleep, spend time relaxing)
- Call your doctor and follow his/her instructions (even if that means spending some time on steroids or another prescription treatment)
- Remember that it's OK to say "no" or to cancel plans when you don't feel well
- Try to move around a little (walking slowly or gently flexing stiff joints)
- Be gentle with yourself
What do you do to avoid flares? How do you deal with them when they come along?