The 12th Invest in ME Conference, Part 1
OverTheHills presents the first article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME international Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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Never get colds or flus anymore? Here's one theory as to why....

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by pegasus5726, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. pegasus5726

    pegasus5726

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    I used to get 2-3 really bad colds or flus with bronchitis every year ever since I was an infant. After I had CFS for around 5 years, I stopped getting colds or flus (approx. 2003 / age 43). I could be around very sick people, not wash my hands, and I was seemingly immune to getting colds or flus. I hadn't had any cold or flu since 2002 until the past 7 months. I have been doing many things to boost my immune system, and now I'm catching colds again (3 times in the past 7 months). According to the link below people with strong immune systems easily catch colds. But it is theorized that as the immune system becomes too weak to respond the virus, they won't have symptoms of a cold. So not getting colds at all may actually mean the immune system is getting weaker.

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    Myth 1: The greatest myth about the common cold is that susceptibility to colds requires a weakened immune system.

    Facts:
    1. Healthy people with normal immune systems are highly susceptible to cold virus infection once the virus enters the nose. In volunteers studies, approximately 95% of normal adults became infected when virus was dropped into the nose (72, also see How Cold Virus Infection Occurs).
    2. Of people who become infected, only 75% develop symptoms with a cold. (5, 72) The other 25% have virus growing in the nose but have no symptoms. They have an "asymptomatic infection".
    3. Why people sometimes become infected but do not develop cold symptoms is a mystery. One clue is that in such instances the person may not be producing the normal amount of certain inflammatory mediators, the natural body chemicals which cause cold symptoms (2, also see What Causes Cold Symptoms). If this theory is correct, then people with active immune systems may be more prone to developing cold symptoms than people with less active immune systems!
    http://www.commoncold.org/special.htm

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Cold symptoms are due mainly to the body's response to the infection. When a nasal cell is infected by a cold virus, the body responds by activating parts of the immune system and some nervous system reflexes. (5)

    The immune system contains a variety of natural substances called inflammatory mediators. Inflammatory mediators help protect the body from infection and other harmful events. Some inflammatory mediators are released when nasal cells are infected by a cold virus. The names of some inflammatory mediators involved in colds include histamine, kinins, interleukins, and the prostaglandins. (5, 16-19)

    When activated by a cold virus infection, inflammatory mediators cause dilatation and leakage of blood vessels and mucus gland secretion. (5) Inflammatory mediators also activate sneeze and cough reflexes and stimulate pain nerve fibers. These events are what lead to the symptoms of a cold.

    The activity of the inflammatory mediators is not necessary for recovery from cold virus infection. Twenty-five percent of people who acquire cold virus infection do not develop symptoms. (4) People without cold symptoms recover from the infection as well as those who have symptoms.

    The individual symptoms of a cold are caused by the action of particular inflammatory mediators, although there is some overlapping. (5) This has important implications for developing and selecting effective cold treatments.

    http://www.commoncold.org/understand.htm#symptoms
     
    justy, ahmo, Mel9 and 3 others like this.
  2. Kenny Banya

    Kenny Banya Senior Member

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    This is funny (strange) that you raise this.
    I hardly ever get sick.
    I used to believe I had a hyperimmunity (my made up diagnosis when I didn't know what the problem was) & GPs had hardly ever heard of it, until I investigated. I just thought my immune system was working overtime, which drained my energy.
     
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  3. Murph

    Murph :)

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    Makes sense to me. We get the viruses, perhaps, but not the full suite of bodily reactions that go with them, due to immune exhaustion.

    Certainly my disease was all sore throat all the time for the first few years, then nothing since! Fits with the Lipkin/Hornig finding of reduced cytokines after a while.

    (I also believe we probably get access to a smaller set of viruses, simply because we tend to go out less.)
     
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  4. lansbergen

    lansbergen Senior Member

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    In my opinion it is the opposite. The early immune response is so fast and strong the invader does not get the chance to multiply.
     
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  5. trishrhymes

    trishrhymes Senior Member

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    I very rarely get infections now. Simple reason - I'm stuck at home not coming into contact with anyone carrying an infection. My few visitors and helpers know not to come near me when they are or have recently been ill or in contact with infections.

    Probably not relevant to this discussion, just thought I'd add my experience.
     
  6. hellytheelephant

    hellytheelephant Senior Member

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    I have feeling we already have a thread on this ( or I'm having an ME moment). I have caught everything and anything at the point where the ME symptoms are less pronounced...but, when I am more severely affected I don't get colds etc in the same volume. My understanding is that the immune system overeacts to some things ( eg giving you allergies to things you have been fine with before), but is unreactive to colds and viruses. I think it is like a doorman looking the other way as the viruses etc just enter your system.

    I've had flu twice since originally getting ME. Both times were when I was not so seriously affected.
     
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  7. pegasus5726

    pegasus5726

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    Sorry if someone previously posted on this topic..I did a search and didn't see anything specifically on this topic...

    Just want to add that throughout all these years, I do get out, go shopping, go to movies, fly on planes, socialize outside the home, etc., (though not as much as someone who is well, but get out most days to do something even for short periods) so I'm in contact with the public at large and had ample opportunity to be sick. But no colds or flus, no matter what, until recently...
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
    Mel9 likes this.
  8. Kenny Banya

    Kenny Banya Senior Member

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    It will be interesting if your sickness coincides with increased energy
     
  9. mhrps

    mhrps

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    I think that you do respond to viruses but you don't notice it. The body and your immune system is to weak to increase the temperature, make the symptoms clear. From 2002 until recently I did not have symptoms too. Recently I have noticed that I do have frequent infections. The only symptom is that I am weaker than usual and have wet back for 2 days after I wake up.
     
  10. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

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    I get ill frequently, I've seemed to catch every respiratory virus going around in the last few years - I think I must catch them from my neighbours or something (I live in a small apartment) - they're coughing, low and behold a few days later I have a sore throat etc.
     
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  11. Techs

    Techs

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    It's an interesting theory. I'd been thinking the reason I get a lot fewer colds than before is because I've been so adamant about managing my illness -- keeping stress low, resting frequently, stretching, etc. Plus, I've become a huge germaphobe.

    Like Kenny, I'll be interested to see if your recent increased susceptibility aligns with any changes to your disease state.
     
  12. Thinktank

    Thinktank Senior Member

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    I've not catched one cold or flu since the onset of my ME 5 years ago until March. I got a pretty bad cold )with a very mild fever!) which i recovered from within 3 days, now a month later my throat starts to itch again. What does this mean? Two episodes shortly after each other after 5 years of nothing?
     
  13. boombachi

    boombachi Senior Member

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    I think I read once that the body prioritises so for instance if you have a cold and then get measles the next day your body will prioritise the measles infection and you won't experience cold symptoms. So maybe if the immune system is already busy I don't have a reference and might be wrong. Any immunologists out there?
     
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  14. Wishful

    Wishful Senior Member

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    I rarely get infections either, but I have few social interactions, so I don't know how I react to actual exposure. I did get viral meningitis at one of my rare social encounters, and it gave the same symptoms that I get from PEM, or the previous type IV food sensitivities.
     
  15. South

    South Senior Member

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  16. kiwigirl29

    kiwigirl29

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    I used to catch everything under the sun! People used to think I was exaggerating and so I kept pushing through, working despite having bad colds/flus and then my ME began and I haven't had a cold/flu for a year and a half. I have gone out a bit and been around people who are sick (my hubby had tonsilitis and I didn't catch a bit of it!).
    I always thought my immune system was compromised or something wrong as I caught everything!
    Now, absolutely nothing!
     
  17. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member

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    Besides the usual flu like symptoms (like the beginning of a flu that you never get), I haven't got a cold or anything of the sort since I became ill in 2014.
     
  18. pegasus5726

    pegasus5726

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  19. humanrising

    humanrising

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    I never get sick. my last " cold" Bronchitis which was one of the beginning factors to my health decline was the last.... that was 17 years ago. no colds nothing .... and while I live like a secluded nun the last 6 years, I was around lots of humans prior, worked in AIDS hospice, worked in grocery, did body work, took care of my dad with cancer so in and out of doctors etc I think this is a very odd thing to feel this bad and never catch a cold. .... but sure don't like the idea that I am too sick to get sick. yuck.
     
  20. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    I live with three other people - two at a school so catching stuff all the time and a husband who I share a bed with who works in two different schools and a university in close contact with students.

    In the beginning I caught everything going and was incredibly sick with pneumonias, bronchitis, colds, flu endlessly until I thought they would kill me. 9 years in to my severe relapse I now no longer catch anything - or at least I don't express it properly. At Christmas my kids had something like scarlet fever and were really ill - I was in their room with them all day, nursing them and didn't catch it. Then in the new year my husband and the kids had a really appalling cold which caused temperatures, shivering and nose blowing for weeks. I didn't catch it.

    My theory is that I do catch the viruses - but my body doesn't mount a proper response. The reason I say this is because when others are ill in the house my M.E gets worse. I don't get a runny nose or temperature, but I do get very tired, sluggish and just generally feel like im in a crash. This can last for a number of weeks before I go back to my baseline - but all without any direct cold or flu symptoms.

    All testing points to chronic infection(s) in my body so I think these have hijacked my immune system so it wont fight anything else.
     

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