By: Nancy Klimas, MD, Director, INIM
Veterans with concerns related to Gulf War illness have a lot in common with ME/CFS patients, so my advice to them is the same. See the article below.
I have been asked this question dozens of times over the past week. This is my opinion –
COVID kills people. It kills people with over activated and damaged immune systems preferentially – and that is what ME/CFS is all about. So while there certainly is a risk of an ME relapse with these hyper reactive vaccines (the first wave to be released), you have to weigh the possibility of an ME relapse against the risk of death from COVID-19.
You can mitigate the risk in a number of ways – just the way you do when you feel a relapse coming on. Before the vaccine, make sure you are taking enough antioxidants, particularly NAC or glutathione and CoQ10. The big mediator of post vaccination relapse and immediate reactions is mast cell activation. If it happens immediately, that is anaphylaxis, but if it happens slowly and low grade over days the mediators mast cells release can drive a classic ME/CFS relapse. So, take an antihistamine before and for several days after the vaccine – the strongest one you can tolerate. (Benadryl is one of the strongest, Zyrtec is another good choice). There are many mast cell stabilizers; watch Dr. Maitland’s excellent lecture from out recent CME Workshop: Managing the Syndrome Soup: POTS, EDS, MCAS & ME/CFS, if you want to know more: http://bit.ly/NovaDysCME
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