Save your strength

Make the most of the
energy you have.

Living Day to Day with MG

Here are ideas for getting through your day – from myasthenia gravis patients who understand what you’re dealing with.

Getting DressedHelpful ToolsSneak in Rest PeriodsSafety at Home

Getting Dressed

If getting ready to face a new day wears you out, try these ideas:

  • Choose an easy-to-manage hairstyle. Skip the blow-drying, if possible.
  • If you need to blow-dry your hair, consider a counter stand for your blow dryer.
  • Try an electric toothbrush.
  • Avoid hot baths and hot showers.
  • Sit to brush your teeth, dry your hair, or shave.
  • Get ready in stages.
  • Choose lightweight, comfortable shoes—ones that are easy to put on, and help you keep your balance.

Helpful Tools

When your MG is active, these items might help you conserve energy.

Getting Around

  • A lightweight cane can offer support.
  • Use a city shopping cart or wheeled luggage cart for shopping at the mall. You can use it to bring things to and from the car, also.
  • A handicapped parking sticker, decal or license plate makes your walk shorter when doing errands.
  • Use the shopping scooters available at the grocery store.
  • Consider a chair lift if your stairs keep you from getting around the house independently.

In the Kitchen

  • Appliances such as an electric can opener and electric mixer can conserve your energy.
  • Put the things you need within easy reach. Avoid getting down on the floor or up on a ladder to get what you want.
  • Choose the medium or small containers at the store. Avoid the discount sizes that are too heavy to lift.
  • Lightweight plastic dishes and lightweight silverware are surprisingly helpful.
  • If you have trouble lifting a gallon of milk, a pump attachment (google “Magic tap”) can help. Another gadget tips the gallon for you.
  • A lap “countertop” can reduce your arm lifting and standing while you prepare food.

In the Bathroom

  • Install secured grab bars in the shower and bath. Not sure where to put them? Area building codes might give you guidance.
  • Use a plastic shower chair. Check second-hand resale stores to reduce costs.
  • Try a flexible hose attachment for the shower head, so you can sit while washing.
  • Use railings for the toilet. Some attach to the toilet itself and can be used temporarily.
  • If you need to blow-dry your hair, consider a counter blow-dryer stand available through amazon.com.

For Yourself

  • A properly-fitted removable cervical collar can support your neck, for instance when you write, use the computer, prepare dinner or pay bills.
  • Tape up your eyelids. Your eye doctor may have light-adhesive tape that temporarily keeps your eyelids from drooping. Or try silk tape that’s used in hospitals.
  • If your breathing is weak, your doctor may prescribe the use of a C-PAP (or Bi-PAP) machine. While you wear a mask, the C-PAP forces regulated puffs of air into your lungs, giving your breathing muscles a break. You can sleep with the C-PAP, and use it as needed throughout the day.
  • If heat drags you down, cool off with a damp kerchief around your neck. Check the internet for cooling vests for outdoor wear. Camping supply stores offer cooling neck scarves.

Sneak in Rest Periods

Physical stress and emotional stress can worsen MG symptoms. With this in mind:

  • Don’t rush. If you’re going to be late, what the heck? Be late.
  • Learn to ask for help when you need it. Be direct and specific. (“I need a ride on Tuesday at 10 a.m.” “Please don’t hold my arm; I’d rather hold onto you.”)
  • Get plenty of rest. You may need more sleep compared to pre-MG times.
  • Build naps into your day without guilt.
  • Rest your eyes regularly while reading or working on the computer.
  • Learn what triggers your myasthenia. Can you avoid it? Can you rest before or after?
  • Learn strategies to handle stress—for instance, special breathing or imaging techniques.
  • Don’t give up the things you love—yet. If myasthenia gravis is forcing you to stop gardening, golfing, biking, or whatever—it may be temporary. For example, can you focus on several planters instead of a larger garden?
  • And hey, tomorrow is another day.

Safety at Home

Use your good judgment:

  • If you feel weak or unsteady, let someone else change the light bulbs. Skip the shower, and opt for sponge baths.
  • If you live alone and feel very weak, ask someone to check in on you.
  • Do what you can to avoid falls. Put away throw rugs. Keep walkways and stairs clear. Clean up spills promptly. Don’t wax floors.
  • In the event of a power outage, keep a flashlight handy. Also keep a working telephone available.
  • Pay attention to the expiration dates of your medication. Throw out old medications.

Last updated June 2016.

Unless otherwise stated, the information provided here is of a general nature, composed by non-medical personnel. It is meant to be accurate and helpful advice for MG patients. It is not intended to be medical opinion, nor is it a substitute for personal professional medical care.