Archive | March 2023


“Whether they have roots, wings, fins or hooves, all living things — humans included — sense when spring is around the corner. Animals in particular undergo certain changes in behaviour that signal spring is coming.

Here are some of the ways that local wildlife species greet the arrival of warmer, milder weather in the Ottawa–Gatineau region.

Regarding the forest with spring coming, hibernating animals — like bears, bats, and some squirrels and chipmunks — wake up from their long winter naps. Animals that hibernate sometimes do wake up in the winter months, but not for long periods of time.

In the spring, though, all animals that hibernate leave their deep sleeps for good. They start to take advantage of the more abundant food supply and comfortable conditions that spring offers. Spring also welcomes new baby animals to the forest floor, such as deer and coyotes. “.



“Bees, wasps, and hornets are most abundant in the warmer months. CDC recommends you should take the following steps to prevent insect stings:

  • Wear light-colored, smooth-finished clothing.
  • Avoid perfumed soaps, shampoos, and deodorants.
    • Don’t wear cologne or perfume.
    • Avoid bananas and banana-scented toiletries.
  • Wear clean clothing and bathe daily. (Sweat may anger bees.)
  • Wear clothing to cover as much of the body as possible.
  • Avoid flowering plants when possible.
  • Keep work areas clean. Social wasps thrive in places where humans discard food.
  • Remain calm and still if a single stinging insect is flying around. (Swatting at an insect may cause it to sting.)
  • If you are attacked by several stinging insects at once, run to get away from them. (Bees release a chemical when they sting, which may attract other bees.)
    • Go indoors.
    • A shaded area is better than an open area to get away from the insects.
    • If you are able to physically move out of the area, do not to attempt to jump into water. Some insects (particularly Africanized Honey Bees) are known to hover above the water, continuing to sting once you surface for air.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –  CDC (

Part II Be alert to the spring and summer insect stinger visitors including know why they sting=Bees!

Types of Bees:

A.) Honeybees:  honey bees 

Honey bees have been around longer than humans; there is fossil evidence from 150 million years ago! Honeybees are highly social insects. Honeybees can contain up to 60,000 bees in its colony at its peak. Honeybees can fly up to 15 miles an hour. Worker bees are sexually undeveloped females. They build hives, forage for pollen and nectar for food and circulate air within the hive by beating their wings, among other tasks. The queen’s main job is to lay eggs, though she also directs activity within the hive. Male bees are called drones. In winter months when the hive needs to conserve resources, drones are expelled. Honeybees can only sting once, causing the bee to die, as the stinger and the venom sack get stuck in the victim’s flesh after use.

Many people are afraid of bees because they think they will be stung by them, but bees are far more interested in going about their business foraging for pollen and nectar than they are in ‘stinging’ human beings. It actually takes a lot to provoke a bee to sting you – and many of our UK bees don’t sting at all.

Honeybees……. will sting if defending their honey stores or their queen, or if they think you are threatening their life by standing or sitting on them.  Honeybees have a barb at the end of their sting which remains under your skin after they have stung.  When a honey bee stings a person, it cannot pull the barbed stinger back out. It leaves behind not only the stinger, but also part of its abdomen and digestive tract, plus muscles and nerves. Honey bees, including killer bees, have barbed stingers that tear off when they try to fly away after stinging, so these bees die after the sting and thus can sting only one time. In this case the stinger and venom sac typically remain embedded in the skin of the victim.This massive abdominal rupture kills the honey bee. Honey bees are the one of the few species of bees to die after stinging. They usually die right after they have stung.  It is worth noting that honeybees have a somewhat variable temperament, from extremely docile to quite tetchy. This is down to genetics: certain crosses can be hard to handle, even by experienced beekeepers. The good news is that honeybees almost never sting anyone who is not close to their nest/hive, so don’t worry about being stung whilst gardening or walking through a field. You are less likely to be stung whilst honeybees are swarming than at any other time.  Male honeybees have no sting If you have reason to think you may be allergic to bee venom, you should carry an Epipen (A PREPARED EPINEPHRINE DOSE WITH A NEEDLE to prevent anaphylactic reaction.).


B.) Bumblebees:  bumble bees2 bumble bees

Like their relatives the honey bees, bumblebees feed on nectar, using the long hairy tongue (proboscis) to lap up the liquid; the proboscis is folded under the head for flight. Bumblebees gather pollen to feed their young

They will only sting if their nest is threatened or if you squeeze them, sit on them or stand on them. They are not naturally aggressive and it takes a lot to provoke them. If they feel threatened by you they will ‘tell’ you. They do this by raising one of their middle legs in the air. When you move away they will put their leg back down again – but if you go closer (and if they are unhappy about this) they will lift another leg in the air. If you go closer still – they will lift two legs up vertically in the air or turn on their back and show you their sting! This is called ‘posturing’ but very rarely leads to them actually stinging you.  If bumblebees DO ever sting, their sting has no barb like the honeybee, so they will not die afterwards 🙂 Male bumblebees do not have a sting.  You can identify the males of some species quite easily by their pale yellow facial hair and little yellow moustaches. Also, male bumblebees are in less hurry than the females when foraging and have thin hairy legs (females have a wide shiny, smooth top corbicula on their back legs and are often carrying pollen)

C.) Solitary bees:  solitarybees1solitarybees2

There are over 230 species of solitary bee in the UK and it is VERY rare for anyone to be stung by one of these bees. As solitary bees have no honey stores to protect, there is no reason for nature to have provided them with a good defence weapon like the honeybee. The females are equipped with tiny stings but rarely, if ever, do they use them. You would have to be squashing them to provoke them to sting – and even then, the sting is so insignificant that it cannot pierce human skin. There are just one or two exceptions. Although the effect is not as severe as a honeybee sting, our tiniest species of ground nesting solitary bee, Lasioglossum and Halictus, both have fully functioning stings capable of penetrating human skin.  None of the male solitary bees have stingers.

-Leafcutter Bee- A solitary bee: 

These bees are very similar to Mason bees in their nesting characteristics, except that they use leaves to close up their nest cavities.

They are black with white hairs covering the thorax and the bottom of the abdomen, and many species have large heads with massive jaws to aid in cutting off pieces of leaves to seal their nests. Also like mason bees, they carry pollen on their abdomens and are very fast flyers.

  • Are they pollinators? Yes. Leafcutter bees are important pollinators of many wildflowers, as well as some fruits and vegetables. They’re used by commercial growers to pollinate crops including alfalfa, blueberries, carrots, and onions.3
  • Do they sting? They can sting, but these solitary bees do not aggressively defend their nests. They only sting when handled, according to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, which describes a leafcutter bee sting as “far less painful” than that of a honeybee.
  • How to get rid of leafcutter bees: Like most bees, leafcutter bees are beneficial and usually don’t need to be removed. Stinging isn’t much of a risk, but while their habit of cutting holes in foliage may not harm the plants, it can reduce the aesthetic value of some ornamentals. To stop this, cut away your plants’ dead or damaged stems, which can attract leafcutter bees, or try wrapping the plants in cheesecloth to protect them. You could also set up a bee hotel somewhere away from the plants to draw the bees away.

– Mason Bee – Another solitary bee:   Close up of a mason bee on a leaf

A Mason Bee is a term that is used to refer to any bee species in the genus Osmia, of the family Megachilidae. Mason bees (also known as masonry bees) are native bees, meaning that they occur naturally in a region, and they are aptly named for the materials they gather to make their nests.

Unlike the honeybee, Mason Bees are tunnel-nesting solitary pollinators, and they typically use mud or clay to seal the openings of their homes. According to the U.S. Forest Service, there are 140 species of Osmia in North America.

While there are many different species of the Mason Bee, these pollinators are smaller than a Honeybee and tend to have distinct physical characteristics. The female is a black bee with an orange abdomen and feet, black fur on her face and thorax, and long red-brown hairs on the abdomen. The males are similar but have white fur on the face and a black abdomen with long orange hairs.

According to the Ecological Landscape Alliance, every female Mason Bee is a “queen” who lays eggs and raises offspring on her own, without the support of a highly-organized, social colony. The role of the male Mason Bee is much simpler than that of the female: they mate with the females and then die.

Mason Bees lay their eggs and nest inside existing tunnels, which can be created naturally by beetles and plants, or with the help of humans. The outside of a Mason Bee nest has various circles that are actually tunnels, and these tunnels are typically six inches deep. According to The Ecological Landscape Alliance, Mason Bees prefer holes that are 5/16” in diameter.   mason bee nest a mason bee crawling into its mason bee house Mason Bee Hive with a mason bee looking out.


D.) Carpenter Bees:  A carpenter been sitting on small branch that has had a hole drilled for nesting.

Carpenter bees, also sometimes known as wood bees, don’t have a great reputation. That’s because they are the ones (the female workers, again) that bore into your wood and make a hole as neat and clean as if it was bored out with a power drill. The presence of sawdust on sills or stoops is an indication you should look for a hole, which is the female’s reproductive nest.

She lays her eggs, females first and males last. The bees emerge from the hole in the spring, leaving in single file. The males go out first so they can be ready to mate with the females when they leave the nest.

Many people find carpenter bees destructive. The only thing that seems to deter them is painted or sealed wood. Traps are available, but these tend to kill the bees.

Carpenter bees also have the reputation of being the robber barons of the bee world. They chew into small flowers into which they can’t fit, such as those on blueberries, to get to the nectar before blueberry bees visit the flower. When this happens, they aren’t pollinating the flower; they are simply “stealing” the nectar without providing a natural benefit.

On the flowers of other plants, however, carpenter bees are excellent pollinators.2 Carpenter bees, like honeybees and bumblebees, have pollen baskets on their legs. They also have a black body with dense yellow and black hairs on their head and thorax and a bald abdomen.

If you’ve ever had a large bee swoop down and hover in front of your face, it was probably a carpenter bee. Your first thought when this happens may be that you’re under attack, but you’re not. It’s just being territorial.

  • Are they pollinators? Yes. “Some people consider carpenter bees pests because they drill holes or nest in wooden structures. However, their contribution to pollination far outweighs any damage to structures,” according to the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • Do they sting? Females can sting in defense, but rarely do. Males appear a little more aggressive and territorial, but cannot sting.
  • How to get rid of carpenter bees: As with most bees, it’s best to leave them alone rather than try to evict them. They may occasionally buzz your face, but they’re unlikely to sting. Paint or seal wood to prevent them from nesting in it. If they’ve already nested and you want to kick them out, try playing loud music near their nest or spraying it with a citrus repellent (boil sliced citrus fruit in water for 10 to 15 minutes, then let the water cool down before spraying it on the nest).

E.) Blueberry Bees:

Southeastern Blueberry Bee on Blueberry Flower, photo by Blair Sampson.


These bees are about the size of a honeybee but have hair patterns and banding that give them the appearance of a small version of a bumblebee or a carpenter bee.

They get their name because they’ve evolved with native blueberries, and their bodies have become a perfect fit for bell-shaped blueberry flowers.

While they’re excellent pollinators for blueberries, they also pollinate other plants. Blueberry bees nest in the ground, especially near blueberry plants once they find them.

  • Are they pollinators? Yes. Aside from their namesake berry, Southeastern blueberry bees also pollinate other plants that flower in early spring—including Carolina jessamine, oaks, and redbuds—although they may be less efficient pollinators than some other native bees.
  • Do they sting? Like many solitary bees, they tend to sting only when someone accidentally crushes them.
  • How to get rid of blueberry bees: There are few if any risks posed by these beneficial bees, and thus few reasons to bother trying to get rid of them. If you must, try tactics similar to those for discouraging mason bees and other ground-nesting bees, such as reducing the dry, exposed soils where they like to nest.

F.)  Squash Bees: 

These bees resemble the blueberry bee in that they have evolved to become specialists in the pollinating of the family Cucurbita, which includes squash, zucchini, pumpkins, and many gourds.

They are one of the few bees that fly pre-dawn. Their primary flight times last until mid-morning, and they will fly again near dusk when squash and melon flowers open.

If you see a bee nesting in a squash flower, it’s almost certainly a male squash bee, as they nest and mate in squash flowers. Females nest in the ground near food sources.

Bumblebees also will pollinate squash flowers but tend to linger in the flower while female squash bees do their business and leave. Because the bodies of bumblebees are not designed to pollinate squash, they will have trouble pollinating the flowers, sometimes having to use their legs to balance themselves in the blossom.

The head and thorax of squash bees range in color from black or tan to orange. The thorax is hairy and black with banded abdomen stripes that are black, white, or tan.

  • Are they pollinators? Yes. Squash bees gather pollen exclusively from plants in the genus Cucurbita, according to North Carolina State Extension, which notes that, along with bumblebees, squash bees “can do more than 10 times the amount of pollination necessary for a field.” They are also regular visitors to home vegetable gardens.
  • Do they sting? As with many ground-nesting species, squash bees are not aggressive and very rarely sting humans.
  • How to get rid of squash bees: There are few if any risks posed by these beneficial bees, and thus few reasons to bother trying to get rid of them. If you must, try tactics similar to those for discouraging mason bees and other ground-nesting bees, such as reducing the dry, exposed soils where they like to nest.

G.) Sweat Bees: Adult Halictus poeyi Lepeletier, a sweat bee, gathering pollen on lanceleaf coreopsis, Coreopsis lanceolata.


This is a large group of small bees, with some only a quarter of the size of a honeybee. They have come to be known by the common name of “sweat bee” because they are attracted to human perspiration.

They are also excellent pollinators and are active into October and even November. Because of their size, they are attracted to small flowers like fall-blooming asters of the Southeast.

Sweat bees range in color from black to metallic blues and greens, with copper and blue overtones. Some have stripes on their abdomens. They can be difficult to see due to their small size and high speed.

  • Are they pollinators? Yes. Unlike specialist squash bees, sweat bees are generalist pollinators, visiting a wide range of flowering plants.
  • Do they sting? Female sweat bees can sting, but they are not aggressive. The best way to avoid being stung is to leave them alone.
  • How to get rid of them: Sweat bees are yet another group of beneficial bees that usually don’t need to be evicted. If you’re worried about being stung, however, use methods similar to other ground bees: Keep the ground moist and grow some kind of vegetation over bare spots to limit potential nesting sites.






“Wasps, hornets and bees present an all-together different challenge for homeowners. While many of these insects offer similar benefits, they also pose a threat to people – they aggressively defend themselves by stinging other creatures they view as a threats.”. (


Part I Be alert to the spring and summer insect stinger visitors including know why they sting=Wasps!



yellowjacket and hornetyellow jackets WASPS

Spring with summer around the corner have certain insects coming out of hibernation which are little insects with STINGERS and know how to deal with them.

Yes it’s that time of the year again better weather and getting warmer with certain individual insects waking up and popping into our site again that go BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Enjoy the weather but know these insect stingers and what to do.

At least 40 deaths occur each year in the U.S. as a result of serious anaphylactic sting reactions.

In general there are over 20,000 known bee species in the world, and 4,000 of them are native to the United States. They range from the tiny (2 mm) and solitary Perdita minima, known as the world’s smallest bee, to kumquat-sized species of carpenter bees. Our bees come in as many sizes, shapes, and colors as the flowers they pollinate. There is still much that we don’t know about native bees—many are smaller than a grain of rice and about 10% of bees in the United States have yet to be named or described—but all of these bees have jobs as pollinators.

A bee sting is strictly a sting from a bee (honey bee, bumblebee, sweat bee, etc.).

In the vernacular it can mean a sting of a bee,  or even a wasp, or a hornet, or or a yellow jacket. Some people may even call the bite of a horse-fly a bee sting. The stings of most of these species can be quite painful, and are therefore keenly avoided by many people.

Honey bee stings release pheromones that prompt other nearby bees to attack.

Bee stings differ from insect bites, and the venom or toxin of stinging insects is quite different. Therefore, the body’s reaction to a bee sting may differ significantly from one species to another.

In people with insect sting allergy, a bee sting may trigger a local reaction meaning its at the site where you were stung which is redness, swelling, pain, and oozing possibly but a systemic reaction which can be dangerous meaning a anaphylactic reaction that is potentially deadly.

In general there are over 25,000 species of wasps found throughout the world. Some of the most common wasps include:

The yellow jacket and hornet, both of which live in groups, or colonies, in temperate climates.

Yellow jackets, which have black and yellow stripes on the abdomen, form underground nests.

Hornets are predominantly black with some yellow markings on the head and thorax. Hornets form paper-like nests that are attached to trees, bushes, or buildings.

Certain animals have developed stinging as a form of defense or hunting. Venomous stings can have a local reaction, meaning pain, swelling, redness, itching, and possible oozing around the sting site, or a systemic reaction, meaning with local symptoms plus hives or airway and circulatory problems across the whole body. Local symptoms meaning the reaction to the sting is in one local area and systemic meaning the reaction is generalized throughout the body.

Types of Wasps:


Hornets are a type of wasp closely related to and resembling yellow jackets, according to National Geographic. While the majority of the approximately 20 species of hornets are found in tropical parts of Asia, these stinging insects can also be found throughout Europe, Africa and North America. Hornets are social insects that live in community hives dominated by queens.They are considered pests and potentially dangerous by many because they aggressively defend their hives by using their stingers. Reacting quickly after disturbing a hornets’ nest will help you prevent excessive stings and potential allergic reactions.

Hornets are a large species of wasp, growing up to 2 1/2-inches in length. Hornets become aggressive when they feel threatened or must defend their nest. Unlike a bee, hornets can sting multiple times, as their stingers are not barbed. A hornet sting delivers venom beneath the skin that causes a painful reaction for up to three days following. You can treat a hornet sting to relieve some of the pain and swelling, making the healing process tolerable. Hornets are very, very painful. As soon as you are stung by a Hornet a red welt will develop and the throbbing pain will begin. Before trying to treat a Hornet sting be sure you are safely away from the Hornet and nest. A Hornet will sting many times and if you kill a Hornet their Hornet friends back at the nest will come after you too. When a Hornet is killed it releases a scent and other Hornets will come to investigate. If you are allergic to Hornet stings seek emergency medical attention 911 for anaphylactic reactions.

 B.) Yellow Jackets  

Overall, stinging wasps have warning colors, either yellow, brown, to even blue or red. Wasps have pointed abdomens attached to the thorax by a thin waist called a petiole. They build papery nests from wood fibers, very common in the northeast. The colonies that live in these nests are led by one egg-laying queen. The female nest-building workers are the only ones with stingers, which are modified egg laying apparatuses. If threatened, they will gather into a stinging swarm to protect the nest.

C.) Solitary Wasps

There are two main types of wasps, the solitary ones and the social ones, which nest together. Here’s a quick look at each of these.

D.) Social Wasps

For wasps, being social does not mean that they live in large colonies–far from it. A typical wasp nest can contain only a dozen individuals. The larger wasp nests can contain as many as 10,000 individuals, way below the 50,000 workers in a bee colony.

The social wasps belong to the Vespidae family, which includes the hornets and the yellow jackets, one of the most aggressive types of wasps.

E.) Solitary Wasps


In mid to late summer in the northeastern US, several species of large solitary wasp (belonging to the families Sphecidae and Crabronidae) frequent gardens, parks, and other open spaces. Despite their threatening appearance, solitary wasps are totally harmless. They are more interested in hunting other invertebrates–like spiders, flies, and bees–than they are in you. Solitary wasps are carnivores that capture and paralyze insects or spiders to feed their young, with many species specializing on particular types of prey. Unlike hornets, yellowjackets, and other social wasps, solitary wasp females build and provision nests independently of one another. Nesting locations differ among species and may include a variety of cavities both above and below ground.

The vast majority of wasps belong to the solitary type and they are mostly predators. Here are the main groups of solitary wasps:

Types of solitary wasps:
  • 1 Cuckoo wasps, which belong in the Chrysididae family
  • 2 Tiphiid wasps of the Tiphiidae family
  • 3 Scoliid wasps of the Scoliidae family
  • 4 Velvet wasps of the family Mutillidae
  • 5 Cicada-killer

Solitary wasps are generally parasitic and do not build colonies, unlike their more social relatives.

#1 Cockoo  Cockoo Wasp Digital photo of a female  #1

#2 Tiphiid Wasps 

#3 Adult Scoliid Wasp of the Subfamily Campsomerinae

#4 Velvet Wasps Female Male

#5 Cicada Killer Wasp 

REMEMBER wasps have the ability to sting repeatedly.

Treat a wasp, hornet, or yellow jacket with care. If you get stung, leave the area and wash with soap and water as soon as you can. Applying a cold compress can help reduce swelling. Although if your symptoms worsen more than mild pain and swelling seek medical attention ASAP!

Tune into Part 2 tomorrow for learning about the BEES.




“Key Facts on Endometriosis:

  • Endometriosis is a disease where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, causing pain and/or infertility (1).
  • Endometriosis affects roughly 10% (190 million) of reproductive age women and girls globally (2).
  • It is a chronic disease associated with severe, life-impacting pain during periods, sexual intercourse, bowel movements and/or urination, chronic pelvic pain, abdominal bloating, nausea, fatigue, and sometimes depression, anxiety, and infertility.
  • The variable and broad symptoms of endometriosis mean that healthcare workers do not easily diagnose it and many individuals suffering from it have limited awareness of the condition. This can cause a lengthy delay between onset of symptoms and diagnosis (3).
  • At present, there is no known cure for endometriosis, & treatment is usually aimed at controlling symptoms.”.

World Health Organization – WHO (


“A woman’s uterus is lined with endometrial tissue. This lining is called the endometrium. Your body grows a new endometrium with each menstrual cycle to prepare for a fertilized egg. Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus.  Endometriosis affects up to 10% of women between the ages of 15 and 44. It most often occurs on or around reproductive organs in the pelvis or abdomen and grows outside the uterus. The buildup of abnormal tissue outside the uterus can lead to inflammation, scarring and painful cysts. It can also lead to buildup of fibrous tissues between reproductive organs that causes them to “stick” together.”

John Hopkins Medicine (


“Managing MS is an ongoing process, beginning with the very first symptoms and continuing throughout the disease course. It’s never too soon or too late to think about how to access high quality, comprehensive, interdisciplinary care. Knowing what to look for, where to find it, and how to work effectively with your doctor and other health professionals is essential to your health, wellness and quality of life.  Establishing and following a treatment plan with your healthcare provider is the best strategy for managing your MS. Medications are used in multiple sclerosis (MS) to modify the disease course, treat relapses — also called attacks or exacerbations — and manage symptoms. Along with the other essential components of comprehensive MS care, these medications help you manage your MS and enhance your quality of life.”.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society (

Part III Education and Month of Multiple Sclerosis-Treatments for MS & The Types of MS!



Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis:

Today multiple sclerosis (MS) is not a curable disease. Effective strategies can help modify or slow the disease course, treat relapses (also called attacks or exacerbations), manage symptoms, improve function and safety, and address emotional health.

The model of comprehensive MS care involves the expertise of many different healthcare professionals — each contributing in a unique way to the management of the disease and the symptoms it can cause. Sometimes this team works within a single center, offering “one-stop shopping” for people with MS. More often, people are referred by their MS physician to other specialists in the community.

In either case, the goal is comprehensive=coordinated care to manage the disease and promote comfort, function, independence, health and wellness to its OPTIMAL LEVEL.

There are several types of MS:

For an acute exacerbation of multiple sclerosis that can result in neurologic symptoms and increased disability or impairments in vision, strength or coordination, the preferred initial treatment is usually a type of steroid called a glucocorticoid. Patients who do not have a good response to steroidal therapy are often treated with plasma exchange. Plasma exchange is an extreme therapy that removes antibodies to myelin from the blood.

Some patients have disease that will have an acute exacerbation followed by a prolonged quiet period, which can last years or decades. This form of disease is referred to as relapsed remitting MS, or RRMS. Patients with relapsing MS=RRMS are often treated with immune-modulating drugs such as interferon or glatiramer acetate. Glatiramer is an exciting drug. It is a series of small proteins that are similar to myelin protein. It is thought to prompt the immune system to avoid attacking myelin.

Others have a disease that gets progressively worse over time.

There are two types of progressive disease:

1 In primary progressive MS, or PPMS, symptoms steadily worsen over time from the very beginning.

Progressive MS also referred to as disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).

Presently, these include 15 drug therapies to slow MS activity and progression, each of which is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for relapsing forms of MS (and some are also approved for clinically isolated syndrome, prior to the diagnosis of MS). One of the medications, Ocrevus™ (ocrelizumab) is also approved for primary-progressive MS. In nearly all instances, these drugs are prescribed individually, so a patient only takes one DMT during any time period. Of these 15 approved drugs, eight are given at home via injection; four are given by a medical professional via intravenous (IV) infusion; and three are taken orally.

In brief, no clinical trial has shown convincing evidence of benefit in the treatment of primary progressive MS. All suggested treatments for PPMS are empiric. Several drugs that are more commonly used in the treatment of malignancy, cladribine and mitozantrone, appear to have some activity.

2 Secondary progressive MS, known as SPMS, begins as relapsed remitting disease and becomes progressive over time.

Available treatments of primary and secondary progressive MS are of limited efficacy and have significant side effects. An additional fact to consider is that most trials have not lasted longer than two or three years and give only hints about long-term results of treatment.

In brief, no clinical trial has shown convincing evidence of benefit in the treatment of primary progressive MS. All suggested treatments for PPMS are empiric. Several drugs that are more commonly used in the treatment of malignancy, cladribine and mitozantrone, appear to have some activity.

In contrast, there is definite modest benefit in some treatments for secondary progressive MS. These treatments include various regimens of steroid therapy (the anti-inflammatory effect) and the use of some drugs that modulate the immune system. Many of these drugs are more commonly used in treatment of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis such as cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and interferon.

MS should be treated by a neurologist who majors in MS with experience in managing it for years.  The doctor with knowledge is so important regarding the specific disease.  Do your research on experts treating this from NY to CA.

Remember the MS treatment is in parts to make up a whole plan:

1 Modifying the disease:

More than a dozen disease-modifying medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat relapsing forms of MS. These medications reduce the frequency and severity of relapses (also called attacks or exacerbations),  reduce the accumulation of lesions in the brain and spinal cord as seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and may slow the accumulation of disability for many people with MS. No medications have yet been approved to treat primary-progressive MS.

2 Treating the Exacerbations:

An exacerbation of MS is caused by inflammation in the central nervous system (CNS) that causes damage to the myelin and slows or blocks the transmission of nerve impulses. To be a true exacerbation, the attack must last at least 24 hours and be separated from a previous exacerbation by at least 30 days. However, most exacerbations last from a few days to several weeks or even months. Exacerbations can be mild or severe enough to interfere with a person’s ability to function at home and at work. Severe exacerbations are most commonly treated with high-dose corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation.

 3 Managing symptoms

In MS, damage to the myelin in the CNS and to the nerve fibers themselves interferes with the transmission of nerve signals between the brain and spinal cord and other parts of the body. This disruption of nerve signals produces the symptoms of MS, which vary depending on where the damage has occurred. MS symptoms can be effectively managed with a comprehensive treatment approach that includes medication(s) and rehabilitation strategies.

4 Promoting function through rehabilitation

Rehabilitation programs focus on function — they are designed to help you improve or maintain your ability to perform effectively and safely at home and at work. Rehabilitation professionals focus on overall fitness and energy management, while addressing problems with accessibility and mobility, speech and swallowing, and memory and other cognitive functions. Rehabilitation is an important component of comprehensive, quality healthcare for people with MS at all stages of the disease. Rehabilitation programs include cognitive and vocational rehabilitation, physical and occupational therapy, therapy for speech and swallowing problems, and more. 

5 Providing emotional support

Comprehensive care includes attention to emotional health as well as physical health. Mental health professionals provide support and education, as well as diagnose and treat the depression, anxiety and other mood changes that are so common in MS. Neuropsychologists assess and treat cognitive problems.

MS is only part of overall health for a pt diagnosed with this disease!  Comprehensive MS care is only a part — but not all — of a person’s overall health management strategies.

Like the general population, people with MS are subject to medical problems that have nothing to do with their MS — which means that regular visits with a primary care physician and age-appropriate screening tests are just as important for them as they are for everyone else. And the same goes for family members — your health and well-being are important too.

Updated 3/16/2023













“The symptoms of MS are often unpredictable. They may be mild or severe, short-term or long-lasting. They may appear in different combinations, depending on the area of the nervous system affected. About 50% of all people with MS have thinking (cognitive) problems linked to the disease. The effects of these problems may be mild. Your healthcare provider may only find them after much testing.”

John Hopkins Medicine (