An advisory board member, Dr. Robbins answered this question received from a reader:
“My son is almost 8 years old. He had a terrible fever and flu-like symptoms for a week and a half with a high fever (104), cough, and runny nose. He seems to have recovered from that, however now he has developed tics: neck shrugs, blinking eyes, flickering of the hands, and shrugging his shoulders. I have given him magnesium, iron and omega-3 supplements and it seems to be helping. I told his MD and he thinks [the improvement] must be a placebo effect. On to a neurologist for an appointment tomorrow. Am looking for answers.”
Dr. Robbins: I note the supplements seem to be helping your son. Omega 3s have widespread anti-inflammatory effects in the body. The mineral magnesium generally calms the nervous system and relaxes the vascular system. Many people with tic disorders, as well as multiple chemical sensitivities, have noticed improvement with use of these nutritional supplements.
Your neurologist may want to rule out the possibility of PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) or other underlying infections due to the start of tics after your son’s illness. I recently had a patient whose tics disappeared completely on ampicillin for 10 days. There are a number of approaches considered for PANDAS, depending on the specific condition and severity.