Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Explained for Teachers and TAs


What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), can affect children and young people as well as adults. Between two and six per 1,000 young people suffer from the condition and it‘s probably the most common medical reason for absence from school.

CFS/ME can be debilitating. Extreme tiredness, sleep problems, nausea, dizziness, headaches and joint pain are just a few of the symptoms, and the impact on a young person’s life can be devastating. Those affected may be unable to go to school, lose contact with peers, and become generally less able to be involved in their usual activities.

CFS/ME is significant tirednesss which is severe enough to restrict usual everyday activities, and has been present for at least three months. It doesn't go away with rest or sleep, and usually affects every aspect of a person's everyday life. Sufferers often sleep erratically. Finding it difficult to concentrate, being forgetful and experiencing mood changes are also common symptoms.

The condition is typically triggered by a viral infection from which the young person does not recover in the usual way. By the time the condition is diagnosed, there is usually no evidence of the triggering illness. Some affected children and young people seem to have subtle abnormalities of the immune system and others may be more allergic than the general population.

A diagnosis of CFS/ME is usually made by a process of elimination and by taking a careful history including medical, school, social, activity and family history with all test results negative.

What causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

What are the effects of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

What are the implications for the school?

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Where can I get further information about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?