What is a Flare Up??
For those of us with Fibro and chronic fatigue, “flare-up” is a familiar term.. A flare up is a sudden (or sometimes predictable) rise of multiple symptoms at once, causing extreme pain, physical and mental exhaustion. A flare up can last hours, days, even months at a time.
The truth is, chronic pain bodies do what they want. A flare up can be triggered by anything- a temperature shift, high stress levels, doing too much in a day, just getting dressed in the morning, taking a cab to work or just life itself… yup, it’s true.
As we discussed in my bonus blog, 25 Things People Without Fibromyalgia Should Know About People With Fibromyalgia, Fibro can be really difficult to explain, but when a flare up… flares up, it’s a whole nother animal.
The first time I had a flare up I had no idea what was happening with my body. Every inch of me hurt. I couldn’t sit, stand or lay down without my entire body screaming in pain. From my eyelashes to my feet to my skin, to my muscles and joints, nothing felt right.
O.M.G! What the heck is going on I thought? I was hospitalized right away and bedridden for 8 days.
For me, a flare up occurs most nights. This may be more frequent than average but I keep a busy schedule. Check out my 9 flare up must have’s.
Things can get pretty ugly during a flare up so I’ve started a list to raise awareness for how our loved ones and caretakers can flourish when a flare up occurs. With your help, we can make this list even better.
In the conversation below, what will you add to the list? Print it out and post it on the fridge!
Here is my list of 10 Do’s and Don’ts When Someone You Love Has a Flare Up:
- Don’t go into a catastrophic mindset. Keep a cool head, your loved one will benefit from your calming energy. Yes, their body is retaliating, no, it won’t last forever.
- Do let your loved one rest… a lot.
- Do keep your loved one surrounded by heating pads and cool packs.
- Don’t cook in the house until the flare up is over- even if it’s your loved one’s favorite recipe, the smells will be nauseating.
- Do spontaneously gift your loved one with nice, extra comfy pajamas.
- Do encourage your loved one to have their friends come over. Dress code: Comfy Pajamas
- Do help distract your loved one’s thoughts from their painful body by watching Netflix with them.
- Do draw a bath for your loved one. Bonus if it’s infused with a clean scent like lavender or vanilla
- Don’t get into an argument with your loved one. Their short fuse just got shorter.
- Do know that your loved one is so grateful for your compassion and tenderness.