lifesaver being thrown to a hand reaching out of the water

How Can I Help Someone When They’re Flaring?

Hello world! It is I, Hidradenitis Selina. A lot of the time, my articles are targeted towards people that are suffering from hidradenitis suppurativa. However, this article is going to be targeted at people who know someone that has hidradenitis. I get a lot of messages on Instagram from husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, friends, and family members that love someone that suffers from HS, and they don’t know how to help or what to do when that person is flaring. They hate seeing their loved-one in so much pain but they’re unsure of ways to make them feel better and I fully understand where they’re coming from. It’s not like an HS flare is the common cold where your mom can just plop you down on the couch where you watch Days of Our Lives and The Price is Right with a glass of orange juice in between doses of Nyquil. I mean I guess you can still do that if you want but the NyQuil won’t do much for HS, there’s only so many times Stefano can come back from the dead, and Bob Barker doesn’t host anymore, so… Anyway, here are some suggestions on how you might be able to help your loved one feel better during an HS flare-up.

Help with strenuous activities

I’m going to be frank, hidradenitis flare-ups are so flipping annoying. Not only does the flare itself hurt, but I just feel so tired and exhausted and rundown. Since HS affects parts of the body that are prone to movement, doing certain activities can be so painful and difficult. There were times in the past where it hurt to walk because of my armpit flares. The armpit! Not even the groin, but the armpit was affecting my walking!

Believe me, getting up and lifting my arms were completely out of the question, so I was so grateful that Mike, my boyfriend, would do all of the activities I couldn’t. He would do all the driving, all the laundry, clean and cook and get things out of cabinets, make me tea and get me food and water. He helped me get the rest I needed and was so helpful after my surgeries too. Shout out to Mike 5ever!

Give them peace and quiet

I try not to be a mopey-mess during my flares, but hey, it still happens. Remember, it’s okay to not be okay. Like I mentioned above, I get so tired and exhausted during a flare. Last weekend my left armpit was flaring and being stupid and I slept all day Sunday. Like the entire day. I really love being able to just sit or lay comfy and cozy and peacefully. I love being bundled up with a cozy blanket, a hot beverage, and being a complete vegetable.

During this time, I also extremely hate loud noises and loud people. Please proceed around me with extreme caution and please do try to be quiet. Also, make sure you’re down for binge-watching TV and doing nothing else. Always be prepared for a Harry Potter marathon or Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging six times in a row.

Make a small HS care package

With great hidradenitis comes great responsibility (for wound care). It makes me feel greatly appreciated and so much better when someone gets me a pack of gauze, a jar of Vicks, some sensitive skin wipes, or even a box of my favorite tea. Try to find out your loved-ones wound care routine or their favorite things and drop them off a little something to let them know you care and are thinking of them.

There have been quite a few times I’ve been sad over a flare and Mike comes home from work with a new type of gauze or soap for me to try and a Funko Pop Figure and it makes me feel so loved and cared about. Times are also really tough currently and if you can’t spend money, even just a handwritten note can go such a long way towards bettering someone’s mental health.

Be patient and give them time

Please understand that we do not want to be feeling this way. We don’t want to be laying around and in pain all day and please remember that. It might take us a while to get out of bed (that is if we even get out of bed at all), get dressed, shower, etc. We are trying and sometimes the smallest tasks can be the most difficult. I’m sorry if I cancel plans at the last minute and I’m sorry if I seem like a flake.

I don’t want to be feeling like this and I truly am sorry if it’s causing you any inconvenience and stress. Please be patient and please know that I am so thankful to have your support, even if I seem like a miserable mess at the moment. Truly, thank you so much for your patience and your help.

Listening to:

  • Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve
  • Young Folks by Peter Bjorn and John
  • Saturday Night Divas by Spice Girls
  • She Moves in Her Own Way by The Kooks
  • Get Over It by Ok Go
  • Rose-Colored Boy by Paramore

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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