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Cold and Flu

Colds, Flu and Myasthenia Gravis

12/18/2008

Question:

Do you typically find that colds/flu exacerbate the MG symptoms in your patients? What general steps do you recommend when MG is beginning to flare up due to a cold/flue/infection?

Answer:

Colds/flu certainly can exacerbate MG. This usually is a significant problem for patients who already have prominent weakness from myasthenia gravis. Patients should care for themselves as they usually would for a viral infection: bedrest, plenty of fluid, and medication to reduce fever. You should contact your general medical doctor and neurologist for other specific advice. There are no general recommendations I can make, and I do not usually make alterations in a patient`s treatment. If weakness worsens significantly, then plasma exchange or IV Ig may be needed. Bacterial infections may be dangerous for the patient receiving immunosuppressive medications and you need to contact your physicians when you feel that you may have an infection.

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Response by:

Henry J Kaminski, MD Henry J Kaminski, MD
Formerly, Professor of Neurology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University