Although most diagnoses of multiple sclerosis occur in adults, children can develop it as well. Approximately 10% of children with multiple sclerosis experience their first symptoms before the age of 16. How are symptoms managed? What are the treatments?
Treatment of multiple sclerosis flare-ups in children
We speak of an outbreak when the appearance of new symptoms of multiple sclerosis or a worsening of existing symptoms occurs. Outbreaks are not always obvious: if you have a cold, fever, or any situation that increases your body temperature, we can think of it as an outbreak when it is not. In case of suspicion, the best option is to speak with the medical team that takes the child.
When outbreak symptoms are severe, as in adults, children may be treated with corticosteroids. It is a type of medication that can be taken orally or by intravenous infusion and will block inflammation, speeding up recovery from symptoms.
Treatment of the evolution of sclerosis multiple in children
On the other hand, the first disease-modifying treatments for children are beginning to appear. Thus, last year the use of Gilenya® (fingolimod) was approved to treat patients older than 10 years.
Unlike corticosteroids, disease-modifying treatments do not affect symptoms, but they reduce the number and severity of flare-ups, slowing the development of disability over time.
Treating everyday symptoms of children with MS
In the absence of flare-ups, children with MS may feel fine, feel some of the symptoms of the last flare, or have symptoms related to the side effects of some of the drug treatments. It is important to do a thorough follow-up to give as much information as possible to the medical team that will decide how to deal with the outbreak.
It is about keeping track of symptoms and maximizing communication with the child’s school so that multiple sclerosis affects his education and life as little as possible.
Por otra parte, mantener un estilo de vida saludable es un elemento clave que depende de nosotros. Se trata de hacer una dieta equilibrada, beber bastante agua, hacer ejercicio cada semana y dormir las horas suficientes. Asimismo, evitar que se inicien en el tabaquismo, el consumo de alcohol y otras drogas. Así también hay que estar pendiente del estrés, de que haga cosas que le gusten (cuidar las amistades, hacer actividades extraescolares, etc …), y sobre todo hacer que sienta el calor, la confianza y el apoyo de la familia.
It is important to bear in mind that, despite the difficulties of living with a disease like MS, you should not give up your plans for the future. Finding solutions may sometimes have to be creative, but like anyone else, a child must be able to follow his or her goals and draw good plans for the future.