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Why do people suffer more when they have a cold or other infection/virus?

I suspect this is a silly question and I should know the answer but I don't so I am consulting my learned friends ;-)

Been fighting the cold for over a week now and surprisingly it isn't taking complete hold, but, I feel as if my energy source has been unplugged, feel sick, dizzy and generally like a rag doll.

I have many autoimmune issues apart from lupus and wondering if it is the lupus that is causing the problem or if it is something else....

Any suggestions would be helpful as I always feel more secure once I understand the problem


5 Replies

Hi Chablis

It also depends what Lupus treatment you are on as to how your body deals with extras like this nasty cold!. It will take it out of you especially as you say you have other auto- immune illnesses so look after yourself extra well. Hope your better soon. X


I seem to catch every possible infection, e.g. I have had a cold/flu about five times since September. I read somewhere that in people with lupus these infections linger for longer than in healthy people and the symptoms may be also more severe. Certainly it feels like that to me. I only take 200mg Plaquenil and 75mg Aspirin, plus of course Calcium and Vitamin D3.

I wonder what others experience with colds/flus.

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Hi petrof

I would ask, "do you have a partner / husband?" People with SLE should be cautious trying not to catch cold / flu. But if you/someone have / has a spouse / bf etc then it's much harder to avoid germs passed on from him when he got a cold or flu.


Hi Chablis

Good question! Glad you started this discussion up

I can totally relate to how you're feeling, having been through this totally wiped out experience for 61 years: always my colds/ viruses/infections do this to me, and usually mine seem worse than anyone else's & take longer to clear....but sometimes they just hang on simmering away at a relatively low grade of symptoms forever but make me feel just as poorly & wiped out as when they are raging away

Not sure if you have sicca symptoms/sjogrens but perhaps my experience can help you think your way through to some conclusions re this complex question:

The other day I was at my first rheumatology metabolic bone unit appt being assessed for IV treatment for osteoporosis. At one point I had reason to tellI the rheumatologist about my lifelong history of susceptibility to persistent & recurring severe infections (this has been happening even before my early diagnosis infant onset lupus was recognised & put on a daily treatment plan 4+ years ago). He checked my bloods results log, asked me about my version of sjogrens and told me that my chronic widespread sicca (dryness) issues + bloods results like my low immunoglobulin A = predisposition to infection.....and that the immunosuppressants I'm on will heighten this susceptibility to infection (am on daily 400mg hydroxy + 20mg amitrip +1000mg myco with 3 x 4 week 10mg pred tapers per year as required)

The consultant is v experienced in patients like me. And he knows I'm a compliant patient who sticks to the sjogrens/sicca treatment regimes prescribed by the various clinics I attend regularly (ENT, GYN, DERM, ORAL SURGERY etc). He has recommended a trial of pilocarpine which he thinks could help my hydration thereby reducing my predisposition to infection. He seemed to think I might be able to get off myco with the help of pilocarpine....of course, his feeling was that the immunosuppression action of myco is only increasing my predisposition to infection. But I told him that experience has established that in fact daily myco does make my infections less severe & easier to live through because myco damps down the rapid onset and extremely severe, even violent, symptoms of my infections. To this, he said: it's a case of risk assessment! So, I left that consultation with plenty to ponder...especially because my chronic neuro cerebral symptoms (which occur as a complex which includes include fatigue, neuropathies, vertigo, cognitive impairment etc) have tended to flare with a cold/virus/infection, but hey presto daily myco has been inhibiting NC flares during a long series of infections + a cold I've been weathering since early nov!

Am looking forward to the replies you get - you've got some good responses already

Take care, keep your chin up xo

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You have picked up the cold virus and because your immune level is compromised you are feeling terrible.when I feel like this I do NOTHING.until I begin to feel better.good luck.


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