MS, Combined with Flu, Had Me on the Floor Again


MS, Combined with Flu, Had Me on the Floor Again

One thing we do know, though, is that influenza can make us feel worse. MS Society sites around the world agree the flu pushes up our temperature and can make symptoms flare up. And, for those who experience relapses, an infection like the flu can trigger one.

Having progressive MS, relapses are not part of my life, but my symptoms certainly can flare when I am hit by an infection.

And that is exactly what happened over the weekend when I finally succumbed to the same flu that my wife had been suffering from for a few days.

I suppose my two most obvious symptoms are problems with mobility and balance and these certainly were much worse at the height of infection. I fell getting out of my armchair and again in our bathroom, both times taking many minutes to get back onto my feet as my strength deserted me in my time of need. If it had not been for the physical help provided by Lisa, my loving wife, my time on the floor likely would have been much longer.

After my second fall, she insisted that I sit in our bathroom chair, which is on wheels. Although still unwell herself, insisted on pushing me between living room, bathroom and bedroom. She said her motives were a little selfish as it was easier to push me about than help me recover from another fall.

Flu jab protection?

So, if the flu can have such a bad effect, should we take advantage of the protection offered by have the annual flu jab?

Well, when I lived in the U.K., I used to follow the advice of doctors and the country’s MS Society that recommends that people with MS have a seasonal flu jab every autumn. It says: “This is before the flu season starts around November. But it’s still worth having one later than that. Carers and partners can get a flu jab too.”

But that is in the past. No more jabs for me.

Why the change? Let me assure you that it is nothing to do with efficacy of the vaccines or their general safety for most people.

Instead, it is all about their safety for me. Regular readers may recall that in October I spent time in Moscow having medical tests at the A.A. Maximov center that provides HSCT treatment, including patients with MS and other autoimmune diseases.

There is no need to go into detail of what went on, but one of the key findings was that my MS lesions are all inactive and the recommendation made by Dr. Denis Fedorenko, MD, to minimize the risk of reactivating them, was that I should have no vaccines. None at all, not even the flu jab.

I want to emphasize that this is NOT advice for you. Everyone is different. Make sure you get our own medical advice.

This article, written by me, was first published by Multiple Sclerosis News Today.

strap-new is the personal website of Ian Franks, who is Managing Editor (columns division) of BioNews Services. BioNews is owner of 50 disease/disorder-specific news and information websites – including MS News Today. Ian has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.

Born before measles vaccine, how did parents cope?


As a journalist it has been strange to see how, over the years, attitudes change – and here I am really talking about the opinions of parents, good loving parents, towards vaccines and, in particular, vaccinating their children.

Now, we know that the regional, national and international health agencies are all pro-vaccines and their use in order to prevent, or at least, minimise disease transmission. Do they do that? I am not qualified to answer and, believe me, you can make any set of figures prove what you want to prove. However, the worry about illnesses and conditions, such as autism, being caused by the vaccines are real and with more than a little foundation.

Travelling back in time to my childhood brings me to the 1950s, entering this world in November 1952. Vaccines did exist. In fact, a licensed vaccine to prevent measles did not become available until 1963 and an improved one in 1968. Vaccines for mumps and rubella (German measles) became available in 1967 and 1969, respectively.

The three vaccines (for mumps, measles, and rubella) were combined in 1971 to become the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. That was the year after I started work.

So, what did parents do before vaccines? Well, it was generally believed that once a child had had one of these childhood diseases, he or she would develop an immunity so it couldn’t be caught again. Therefore, good ole mum and dad would take their child to a ‘measles party’ to try and catch the disease and so develop immunity.

Did they work? Scientifically, I have no idea but did contract both measles and mumps, at different times, and never caught them again. So, anecdotally, yes they worked.

Years later, at high school, all pupils were going to be given BCG vaccinations, the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin vaccine, against infection with tuberculosis. The vaccine can cause side-effects and my sister, who is seven years older than me, had a bad reaction to her vaccination. It was so severe that, when my turn came, my parents not only refused their permission but stated their objections very loudly.

So, no BCG vaccine for me and now, 51 years after starting high school, I have not had TB. Never had measles or mumps again, nor rubella at all.

That is not to say I am in perfect health. I live with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy that is totally controlled, and a heart condition. In my early 20s, I also had glandular fever. To the best of my knowledge, though, vaccinations against childhood diseases or TB would not have prevented any of them.

Am I in favour of vaccination today? As stated at the beginning, I am a journalist; one of those people who watch, listen, research and ask awkward questions. As an editor, analysing stories and writing opinions has also been my role. So, bearing all that in mind, I would probably not vaccinate my child but, as I don’t have one, that has to be hypothetical.


Let’s wait and see cause of Prince’s death


Natural News has added a very welcome voice of reason and calm to the possible cause of the sudden death of chart-topping rock music star Prince, born Prince Rogers Nelson in June 1958.

While other websites, as well as some anti-vaccine campaigners, have actively promoted the theory that his death may have been the outcome of a vaccination, probably for flu, there seems to be absolutely no evidence to support this.

MikeAdamsWriting in Natural News, Mike Adams ‘the Health Ranger’, says:

Suspicion has been spreading across the ‘net that Prince, who died today, was killed by a flu shot. Specifically, the website is currently asking the question and pointing out that Prince suffered from epilepsy, a condition that can make flu shots more fatal. We Are Change has also picked up the story and is carrying it now.

As one of the most outspoken critics of vaccines, I’d like to politely chime in on this rumour and say that to my knowledge, there is no evidence whatsoever linking Prince’s death to a flu shot. These stories appear to be pure speculation. (And I say that as someone who likes both of those websites!)

What is true is that unwarranted claims of vaccine involvement stand the risk of doing more harm than good, leading to the possible ridicule of the anti-vaccine campaigners. Let’s just wait and see what caused Prince’s death.

Mike Adams continued:

Those of us who are rightly critical of vaccine safety have every reason to blame vaccines for the deaths of a great many people, but that does not give us justification to leap to the conclusion that a vaccine caused the death of Prince… especially when there is so far no evidence whatsoever of a vaccine having been administered to Prince.

Naturally, I understand the argument of those who are concerned, saying, “Well, they covered it up!” The history of vaccine propaganda is so full of cover-ups and deceptions that I fully understand people taking this stance by default, but in the absence of any real evidence of a vaccine being involved, it is a disservice to the vaccine truth movement to falsely blame vaccines for a death that was almost certainly caused by something else.

It is a fact that concerns about the safety of vaccines have existed for many years and that health authorities and the big pharmaceutical companies are ranged against the anti-vaxxers.

I, for one, don’t know who is right but I do know that making a claim that is not based on the facts, as they are known at the time, is likely to backfire and do more harm than good to the movement they are keen to support.