Do overly hot working conditions or severe allergies aggravate MS?
My husband currently works in conditions that I worry are aggravating the MS. He spends several hours per day in an extremely hot steamy room and gets completely drenched in sweat practically daily.
The doctor said something about not getting over-heated, that it can bring on a flair. He specifically mentioned 103 degrees but could high frequency exposure for several hours at a time of lower temps - not sure exactly how high but I'd guess >90 - I'll have to check on that. Could this be initiating the flairs?
Also, he is severely allergic to certain animals and currently works in animal care. He wears protective clothing and masks but occasionally something will splash him or touches his skin between the gloves and lab coat or his neck that gives him a pretty bad reaction, rashes/hives which can spread to other areas besides the exposure site.
About 7 years ago he worked in a very poorly ventilated animal facility where he had regular and extreme reactions requiring high doses of benedryl several times per month. Could severe allergies be the original cause of his MS and is it possible that his current animal exposures are aggravating it?
Once again, your thoughts are greatly appreciated.
Naw, severe allergies are a normal physical reaction. Although there's more people with allergies today than there used to be. There's some speculation that this lowered resistance is because of the lack of internal parasites in humans today.
Speaking personally, if I'm injured, it causes problems. Injury to the feet will cause my calves to go into spasm. Any flu or cold can bring on a flare. If I were him, I would take extra care to protect my skin, but honestly everybody's different - he may not be as susceptible to injury.
Now, the heat. Quix's (Quixotic1) neuro told her that heat will cause damage to your nervous system, and that she needs to stay as cool as possible. What I hear is that there is no lasting damage. So I don't know for sure. What I do know is that I get really fatigued if I spend any time in the heat. I'm basically unable to function, and I have to lie down and take a nap. This happens when the temperature is 85° or above. So if your hubby is having problems functioning, then that might be the case.
Employers are required to provide appropriate accommodations for ailments, so he might be able to ask about a different job description that would keep him from being so hot.
Now I grew up in southeast Texas, which is full of carcinogens from burning petroleum and derivatives... and when I was a child they sprayed regularly for mosquitos, quite often with me playing in the yard.
So it's certainly a possibility, but not everybody with MS has been exposed to the same stuff, so we don't have any well-defined disease clusters.
My husbands most recent MRI indicates new immunologic activity, much worse than any of the lesions seen on previous MRIs. He started the Rebif in July but he also started this new job around May. Some of his old lesions have healed, so I'm wondering if the Rebif is working but that the extreme conditions under which he works is aggravating the MS. The doctor is considering switching him to Tysabri but I'm wondering if quitting his job might be a better way to go.
If I were working in those conditions i would wish for death most likely. A lot of us cannot tolerate heat. I don't do HOT showers, hot tubs or hot weather. He needs to let his employer know that he cannot do that.
I dont know about his allergies but i will bet the heat is murder for him.
It is definitely a hard choice for him, but I would rather work two jobs to make ends meet than have him stay in a job that's killing him. That won't help either of us. But maybe I can at least convince him to find a different job, even if he has to take a pay cut.
Thanks so much for your input - I had a suspicion but now that it's confirmed I can at least show him your comments - comments from people that have first hand experience are more likely to make an impact.
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