Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME

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We see patients aged up to 18 with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)/ME and help patients and families manage their symptoms and improve.

Our team helps families look at routines, sleep, activity and exercise, returning to school and medication.

CFS/ME is a condition that causes long-term, disabling tiredness. No one knows why it happens or what causes CFS/ME.

Some young people have mild symptoms, whereas others are more severe. Your doctors will have checked that there is no other explanation for your symptoms.

Treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME

The CFS/ME team at Sheffield Children’s Hospital is a specialist regional team with considerable expertise.

The team is made up of various people including a Doctor (Consultant Paediatrician), Occupational Therapist, Clinical Psychologist and Secretary.

Each person has a different part to play in helping you to manage your symptoms and improve.

Your first appointment will be with two members of the team. We will work out a plan with you and your family to help you recover.

What does the treatment involve?

  • Routine. Avoiding boom and bust. Young people with CFS/ME say they have good days and bad days. On a good day, they are often very busy (boom), but on the following days, their symptoms seem worse than normal (bust). Having a routine where you do the same things every day helps get rid of these boom and bust feelings.
  • Sleep. Not getting enough sleep can affect how much activity you can do. We work with you to try to help you improve the quality of sleep. This means you are more able to take part in activities.
  • Activity & exercise. Everyone finds it difficult to get back to normal activities when they have been ill for a while. This may be because your muscles have become weak and you may have become unfit. Some people are frightened of making their symptoms worse by doing particular activities. We shall help you put together a plan of how to improve what you can do each day.
  • Returning to school. School is a normal part of everyday life. The CFS/ME team will work with you, your family and your local school and health teams to plan your return to school. Some people find that having lessons at home is a good start.
  • Medication. While there is no medication to cure CFS/ME, it is sometimes possible to help with symptoms such as poor sleep.
  • Working with families. Being ill can have an effect on the whole family, so it may help your parents, brothers and sisters to talk about their feelings too. It can be helpful for you to discuss your feelings with the team and other staff.

Further information

Young Person’s Guide to CFS/ME (PDF) – a leaflet published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) – helping your child to get better – a factsheet by the Royal College of Psychiatrists for parents, carers and anyone who works with young people.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Information and CFS/ME Our Expert FAQ – information from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.

Association of Young People with ME – a UK charity that provides support for children and young people up to 26 who have ME/CFS.

Fatigue management – information about the children’s CFS/ME service at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases including leaflets and links.

Clinics

We see children and young people up to the age of 18 from Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and North Derbyshire. If you are under 16 and have unexplained fatigue which has been persisting for three months or more you can be referred to us by your Consultant Paediatrician.

If you are aged 16-18 years, your GP can refer you directly to us once they have completed the relevant blood tests and agree you have CFS/ME.

Postal address

CFS/ME Service for South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire
Michael Carlisle Centre
75 Osborne Road
Sheffield
S11 9BF

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