Compromised Immune System: Do any of you... - CLL Support

CLL Support

16,329 members26,361 posts

Compromised Immune System


Do any of you diagnosed with CLL find that any time you do get sick it takes longer to heal? I recently had the flu, then bronchitis and a sinus infection, presently I have Conjunctivitis (pink eye) I have been on the drops for 48 hours and while not crusty and no discharge it is still red. So sick of this!!!

13 Replies

I think that’s the main undermining and often neglected element of CLL Wendy. We are quicker to get and slower to get rid of infections and general health maladies. I’ve had a little spot on my chin for weeks now and there was a time it would be gone in days but it’s stubbornly clinging on. Bruises take forever to fade too.

Conjunctivitis is awful but you may find it takes more than a few days anyway for the redness to go even amongst the non affected. My dry eye condition drives me nuts! 🤨

Best wishes (and are you happy for your post to be unrestricted with having a photo avatar?).


I have to quickly clean and aggressively treat scratches/cuts to prevent or treat infections. OTC antibiotic ointment doesn’t work. I have to use a prescription antibiotic ointment Mupirocin.

I have been fortunate to avoid the flu.



You have to stay the course. I have had all those symptoms for 16 months and they have not gotten better. It is my new normal and I do not have an answer for you. The CLL and the drugs we take to keep us alive all contribute to it. I am being patient and hoping things will turn around.

Nick, Miami Beach


If the drops are not making any difference to your eye then it could be a viral infection and you probably should go back to your Dr sooner rather than later.

A friend just got over a viral conjunctivitis - three weeks before he was cleared to go back to work and at one point both eyes practically swollen shut. Do get back to an opthamologist if you are not seeing improvement!

Sure do. It is a b—ch. I got two germs this year and they are so hard to get rid of and the sinus drainage is never ending. I do my best to avoid infections but this year in Ottawa the strains are worse than ever it seems. The hospitals are having a heck of a time keeping up.

Diagnosed in 2015, after a couple of illnesses I figured out I should seek medical treatments as soon as I start to get sick (usually a cold-type thing a couple times a year that turns into sinus infection and/or bronchitis); no more just waiting it out. Even with antibiotics, it lasts several weeks now. With the terrible flu season this year, I've lived as a virtual recluse, do my shopping on-line, including a grocery-shopping service offered by a local chain. When I do have to go out in public, I wear an anti-viral mask. Yes, it's a drag, but this is the first time in years that I haven't come down with the flu. I hear the flu season has started to peak, so hope it won't last much longer.

Wendy328 -

I definitely take longer to get over the same infections that are going around in the household. I had an upper respiratory infection plus post-nasal drop with a blocked ear that lasted 2 months. Amoxicillin and prednisone, plus time seemed to be what healed it. I now use a neti pot every night, too. Everyone else got the infection, and it lasted a week or two.too. My 24 hour stomach bugs stretch to 48 or 72, where the rest of the family seem to get over it quicker. My daughter takes a little longer, and I wonder about her genes ...

But after fatigue, my eyes suffer the biggest loss in quality of life. .

I lost track of how many times I've had iritis, conjunctivitis, and blepharitis over the last 7 years or so. I also have shingles scars in one cornea. My ophthalmologist has tried several kinds of eye drops - both antibacterial and antiviral - and even ointments. I stayed on acycolvir for a couple of years, but gave up on it, because I saw no difference if I stopped for a few weeks at a time. I switched to various strength steroid drops. Steroids do thin the cornea, though, and raise intraocular pressure, which can lead to glaucoma. But if I get that feeling like there's a grain of sand in my eye, or a sharp sting, I tend to use the steroids for a few days.

Eventually, the infections do clear up. I try to prevent new infections by washing my face with Johnson's Baby Shampoo (original clear yellow - they have so many other products now). It has a more neutral pH for the eyes, but isn't much good for the oils in the rest of the face.

I use over the counter artificial tears sometimes, and eyelid cleansing pads. It's allergy season now in my area, and I started using epinastine prescription drops for that on top of fexofenadine tablets (Allegra). I've used olopatadine drops, too (Pataday), but they're more expensive, and I can't honestly see a difference. I even get my hair cut shorter in the spring, because it's less likely to gather pollen and oil, and put it on my pillow. I haven't shaved my head yet ... don't want to scare people.

If both my eyes are dripping, I tend to think its allergy. If it's just my shingles eye, I'll use the over the counter stuff till I wake up with crust a in the morning. At that point, I go to the ophthalmologist. I saw the ophthalmologist 5 times last year. He has diagnosed blepharitis in both eyes, once, but usually it's my problem eye. Note that some of the eye drops actually increase the crust due to one or more of their ingredients.

I do definitely see a stress connection with my eye infections. Longer time at the computer, especially detailed focusing on spreadsheets, leads to blurriness in my shingles eye due to increased inflammation. It makes both eyes burn. It's my canary in the coal mine signal to ease off for a few days - and tell the people at work that want that data, they'll have to wait.

MsLockYourPostsVolunteer in reply to SeymourB

Do you do warm , moist compresses daily to help prevent the blepharitis? My doctor has me do that and eyelid washes 2x a day (she prefers Aveno baby shampoo - don't know how much difference there is). The blepharitis cleared up when I started this routine, and hasn't returned.

Yes Wendy, i had noticed this even prior to being diagnosed. 3 ? years or so ago, flu/chest prob.long time to shift any illness. gave up my charity work as i was meeting people who were often unwell.

i have now decided to be really kind to myself. i have been ill all of january and part of february which sent me into a depression. in some ways its forced me to look at the CLL, as i was "precursor to" last year. I had been ignoring it, but started on this site and hope to get to a support group end of month. i wonder if we need to be more kind and expect to take longer, not stress ourselves during an illness. not sure where you are on the CLL journey but hope you feel better soon. no sooner had i started to get better then the snow arrived under house arrest again!! could be worse

best wishes


virdieblue in reply to pati23

Seymour - I had a sinus issue for two and a half months this winter. I mentioned it to friends and one said to me - yes, it's going around. People call it the three month cold. Maybe you had it too!


Having read other posts can see how difficult it is, I also have lymphoedema in my left arm, wear a sleeve and this has to be cosseted in case i get a scratch/ cut with infection, as need antibiotics ASAP. i thought this where my CLL may have started as almost septicaemia with first infection, gloves with everything now! thats why i try to say only 24 hours at a time to think about!! gets too much some days and not anywhere near treatment for CLL yet! thanks for reading best to everyone


Yup, I agree

It always takes longer to heal.

It's our weakened immune system.

I try to eat healthy and also use supplements

You may also like...