Multiple Sclerosis (MS) | Frequently Asked Questions

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Contact the Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Related Disorder Program

What is Uthoff’s phenomenon?

Many people with MS have a worsening of their symptoms if they become overheated — either through exercise, weather or a hot shower or bath. Uthoff’s phenomenon occurs when becoming overheated causes symptoms associated with MS. This is generally return of symptoms they have had before and different than an MS attack (relapse), because there is no active inflammation in the brain, spinal cord or optic nerves.

In most cases, the symptoms caused by overheating are temporary and go away when the source of the heat is removed.

Will my child with multiple sclerosis be OK?

Since the symptoms of MS vary so much from person to person, it’s impossible to predict exactly how your child will be affected. It’s likely that he or she will go through periods where symptoms get better (remit) and then get worse (relapse). Long-term medication use and counseling can help your child maintain a high quality of life.

What is the long-term outlook for my child?

It’s hard to predict what the exact outcome will be for any one person with MS. However, it’s important to know that MS doesn’t shorten a person’s lifespan and most children with MS are able to lead full lives including things like going to college and having families. Starting a treatment plan early is key to slowing down the disease’s progression. Your clinician can help you develop a treatment plan that ensures the best possible outcome for your child.

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