Never "catch" cold or flu?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Rafiki, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Is there anyone else here who NEVER catches a cold or flu? I never do and I'm curious as to how prevalent this is.

    I have had the flu once, maybe, in 25 years and that was during a period of "remission". However, since I was pushing and crashing while in "remission" it could have been an atypical crash.

    I know that someone said that their doctor/practitioner said that they would know they had made progress when they caught something but I can't remember who that was. (I know that others seem to catch everything going.)

    Does anyone know why some of us are affected this way and others not?

    Thanks,
    Rafiki
  2. debhun

    debhun New Member

    I think it maybe some of the meds we are on that keeps us from getting sick. I use to get sick all the time but now I am on my meds I haven't beem sick in 3 years.
  3. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Well, I'm glad you don't get sick any more! That's great!

    But, I'm very curious about those of us for whom not "catching" things is an aspect of the illness... a finding.

    I have not been on any medication, other than antibiotics for mycoplasmas from time to time, that would have any impact on my catching or not catching things.

    I think there is some clue in here somewhere. We come into contact with the same things as other people and yet either do not "catch" them or mount no response and, therefore, have no symptoms.

    Anyone?

    Peace out,
    Rafiki

    PS I never could catch!


    [This Message was Edited on 04/04/2007]
  4. LaQuiet

    LaQuiet New Member

    ...had a cold or flu in years it seems like... Don't know why unless it's what one of those researchers said... That our bodies are possibly in immune overdrive so we don't get these virii????
  5. roge

    roge Member

    i hear ya rafiki, this is quite common for CFS and FM. Interesting you post this as I have been planning on posting as I am currently in the midst of guess what? a severe cold myself and I never get these, last one was 4 years ago, and wholly crap I am flaring bad. I will post separately about this as while it sucks as I feel terrible , I am trying to view this positively in the sense that this might be good news that I am actually able to catch a classic cold virus.

    It would appear many of us don't catch colds/flus (yet we feel like we have one most of the time) due to a dysfunctional immune system, if it wasnt already obvious.

    Anyway, the following is long, but it is a hypothesis from richvank.....likely as many theories about why we dont catch colds as there are theories for the pathogenis of CFS and FM.

    ********************************************************
    Subject: MED, RES: Colds and flus--Why do some PWCs not get them?

    MODERATOR NOTE: Do not hit reply, send comments to <Richvank@AOL.COM>
    NOT
    the Moderators, thank you.

    Many persons with chronic fatigue syndrome (PWCs) report that during a
    significant part of the time during their illness, they do not catch
    colds and flus that are going around, which in some cases their other
    family members or associates do catch. They also report that during
    the
    periods when they are vulnerable to catching colds and flus, they
    actually are experiencing less severe CFS symptoms than during the
    times when
    they are not vulnerable. How can this be explained?

    I don't think anyone fully understands this in detail, but I would
    like to offer an hypothesis, based on the glutathione depletion model
    for
    CFS that I have previously described in an AACFS poster paper, which
    can be found at any of the following three urls:

    <http://www.personalconsult.com/articles/glutathioneandchronicfatigue.html>http://www.personalconsult.com/articles/glutathioneandchronicfatigue.html

    http://www.cfsresearch.org/cfs/research/treatment/26nf.htm

    or

    <http://phoenix-cfs.org/GluAACFS04.htm>http://phoenix-cfs.org/GluAACFS04.htm

    Before I discuss this pathogenesis hypothesis, I want to say that I am
    strongly convinced that there is a genetic predisposition involved in
    CFS. I don't believe that enough is known yet to pinpoint it, but it
    must be such as to be effective in the earlier stages of the
    pathogenesis
    in order to be relevant in increasing the likelihood of developing CFS.
    This genetic predisposition explains why not everyone develops CFS,
    though subjected to similar stressors, and it also explains the
    familial
    association often found in CFS.

    As can be seen in this poster paper, I have suggested that a state of
    severe long-term stress made up of various types (physical, chemical,
    biological and/or psychological/emotional) causes a long-term elevation
    of cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline). ( Note that the decrease in
    cortisol secretion occurs later in the pathogenesis.) Such hormonal
    elevations are normal responses to stress. However, the long-term
    nature
    of the stress state is significant.

    These in turn produce a depletion in glutathione and a suppression of
    the immune system, particularly the cell-mediated immune response and
    the inflammatory response. The cell-mediated response includes the Th1
    response, involving helper-T cells and macrophages that is important
    for
    combating intracellular bacterial infections, and the cytotoxic T-cell
    response involving cytoxic or "killer" T cells that is important for
    combating viral infections. Both glutathione depletion and a shift
    away
    from the Th1 immune response have been reported in CFS.

    I have further suggested that when glutathione becomes sufficiently
    depleted in the particular cells that harbor the various latent
    herpes-family viruses, such as Epstein--Barr, cytomegalovirus, or
    HHV-6, the
    reactivation of one or more of these viruses is triggered by the
    formation
    of disulfide bonds in glycoprotein -B, as reported by Italian
    researchers. This accounts for herpes-family viral infections being
    the main
    viral infections found in PWCs.

    PWCs are also often found to be infected with intracellular bacteria,
    such as mycoplasma and Chlamydia. I suggest that both are allowed to
    occur when the glutathione level becomes sufficiently depleted in the
    cells involved, by the following mechanisms:

    Mycoplasma are known to produce superoxide and hydrogen peroxide. It
    seems likely that they use these to attack human cell phospholipids
    membranes. Glutathione normally provides a defense against these
    reactive
    oxygen species. Glutathione depletion might allow the mycoplasma entry
    to the cells.

    At one stage of the life cycle of Chlamydia, disulfide bonds must form
    in the protein coat. I suggest that glutathione depletion allows these
    bonds to form, just as it allows the disulfide bonds to form in
    glycoprotein B in the proliferation of the herpes viruses.

    It thus appears that the viral and intracellular bacterial infections
    most commonly found in PWCs result from the effect of glutathione
    depletion on endogenous pathogens (those already present in the body).
    This
    explains why these particular infections are found in CFS.

    I suggest that when the immune system detects the viral and/or
    intracellular bacterial infections, it attempts to respond by mounting
    a
    cell-mediated immune response. In doing so, the lymphocytes import
    much of
    the scarce supply of glutathione from the blood plasma, leaving little
    for the skeletal muscles. This has already been hypothesized by
    Bounous
    and Molson. The depletion of muscle cell glutathione causes an
    increase in the concentration of peroxynitrite in the skeletal muscle
    cells
    (as discussed by Prof. Martin Pall in several publications), which
    inhibits oxidative metabolism and thus decreases the rate of production
    of
    ATP. This in turn causes the observed physical weakness and fatigue.

    Even though the lymphocytes absorb the glutathione that is available,
    because of the shortage they are still unable to get enough to mount a
    vigorous cell-mediated immune response. They therefore carry on a sort
    of "guerrilla war" against the viral and intracellular bacterial
    infections, but are not able to defeat them. This produces the ongoing
    "flu-like" symptoms experienced by PWCs.

    It is normal for cells also to mount a "holding action" against viral
    infections by means of the secretion of interferons. These stimulate
    genes that are called ISGs (interferon stimulated genes). These
    include
    the Mx gene and the genes involved in the PKR and the RNase-L pathways,
    as researched by Suhadolnik and De Meirleir's group in Belgium. These
    mechanisms interfere with replication of the viruses, but they also
    impede the normal operations of the cells.

    These mechanisms ordinarily remain active only until the cell-mediated
    immune response has had time to ramp up and kill the infected cells.
    However, in CFS, the cell-mediated immune response never develops to
    full strength (as Dr. Cheney has put it, "The cavalry never arrives,")
    and
    therefore the interferon-stimulated processes continue. In addition,
    the normal RNase-L enzyme becomes cleaved and shortened to an
    unregulated form. I have suggested that the latter is due to the
    action of
    caspases, which are upregulated because of glutathione depletion. This
    accounts for the presence of the low-molecular-weight version of
    RNase-L
    found in CFS, as discovered by Suhadolnik.

    Somewhat later in the pathogenesis, for reasons that are not yet
    understood but that may well be due to glutathione depletion, a
    dysfunction
    of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis develops, as discussed
    by Demitrack and others. This often results in a decrease in total
    daily cortisol secretion below normal, as well as a disturbance in the
    dynamic response of the HPA axis. The drop in cortisol secretion
    removes
    the earlier suppression of the inflammatory response, making the PWC
    vulnerable to inflammation, as observed by some PWCs.

    The above processes leave the PWCs immune system in a dysfunctional
    state. When a PWC in this condition is now exposed to influenza or
    common
    cold viruses, what happens?

    I think the first thing I want to note is that the influenza and common
    cold viruses are exogenous. That is, they come from the outside, as
    contrasted with the latent viruses discussed above, which are already
    inside human cells. They are thus subject to antibody defenses, which
    those inside the cells are not. Since the immune system is shifted to
    the
    Th2 mode in many PWCs, the antibody defenses may be stronger than
    normal in these people. That is one possibility to explain the greater
    resistance to colds and flus.

    Another possibility specifically for influenza, is that the Mx pathway
    (mentioned above) is activated by high ongoing levels of interferons in
    many PWCs. The Mx proteins specifically suppress the transcription of
    RNA viruses such as influenza A. It may be that influenza cannot get a
    foothold in the cells of these PWCs because of the constant activation
    of the Mx pathway. This pathway does not come into play for the
    rhinoviruses that produce the common cold, however.

    Those are my best guesses at present to explain the phenomenon of
    invulnerability to flu and cold infections that many PWCs report.
    Comments
    would be welcome. Send them to me at: <Richvank@AOL.COM>

    Rich Van Konynenburg, Ph.D.
  6. roge

    roge Member

    posted the ending for those with not enough energy to read the longer version....



    *******************************************************
    The above processes leave the PWCs immune system in a dysfunctional
    state. When a PWC in this condition is now exposed to influenza or
    common
    cold viruses, what happens?

    I think the first thing I want to note is that the influenza and common
    cold viruses are exogenous. That is, they come from the outside, as
    contrasted with the latent viruses discussed above, which are already
    inside human cells. They are thus subject to antibody defenses, which
    those inside the cells are not. Since the immune system is shifted to
    the
    Th2 mode in many PWCs, the antibody defenses may be stronger than
    normal in these people. That is one possibility to explain the greater
    resistance to colds and flus.

    Another possibility specifically for influenza, is that the Mx pathway
    (mentioned above) is activated by high ongoing levels of interferons in
    many PWCs. The Mx proteins specifically suppress the transcription of
    RNA viruses such as influenza A. It may be that influenza cannot get a
    foothold in the cells of these PWCs because of the constant activation
    of the Mx pathway. This pathway does not come into play for the
    rhinoviruses that produce the common cold, however.

    Those are my best guesses at present to explain the phenomenon of
    invulnerability to flu and cold infections that many PWCs report.
    Comments
    would be welcome. Send them to me at:

    Rich Van Konynenburg, Ph.D.
  7. sleepyinlalaland

    sleepyinlalaland New Member

    My hairdresser suffered terrible arthritis and finally underwent some kind of treatment. I forget what the treatment was but I remember that she said it down-regulated her immune system. Her arthritis improved a LOT (immune system stopped attacking itself), but the trade-off was that she was now catching everything, whereas in the past she was almost never sick.

    I think what's typical of FM/CFS is that in the initial years one gets sick a lot, and in later years many of us seldom get sick. It's more than just age, because peers of my age group are sick a lot more often than I am.

    It's part of the purgatory....never sick, never really well.
  8. Txslady

    Txslady New Member

    I am 36 and have never had te flu or flu shot. I very rarely get a cold or sinus infection. My allergies have not flared up in a long time either.

    Shannon
  9. becc

    becc New Member

    I almost never get sick. After 12 years with ME/CFS & FM, I had a bad sinus infection about 8 months ago. It was the first real 'sickness' I've had since having CFS. I was very sick for a few weeks and it took me months to get back to the point I had been CFS-wise. However, for about 2 weeks while the infection was at its worst, my CFS symptoms were significantly better.

    I've actually woken up this morning with a scratchy throat, sore/itchy ears and stuffy head. It may be my second cold/infection since getting sick...
    [This Message was Edited on 04/04/2007]
  10. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Well, this is every interesting. I knew I wasn't the only one.

    There has been a dreadful bug going around my city and people have been very ill for weeks on end only to recover and then come down either with the same thing or a similar thing almost immediately. I seem immune. I don't really see people these days so it's not surprising that I haven't caught this particular thing but one flu and no colds in 25 years makes no sense as there have been many times where I was in very close contact with others and remained... huh, I nearly wrote "well".

    Roge, the research was very interesting but my brain is not firing on all cylinders so I will have to reread. But, it seems that the gist of it is that we mount a swift and effective response.

    My thought had been that we mounted no response and, therefore, did not get "ill" as it is our immune response that makes us feel ill when battling something. That's why influenza epidemics strike young healthy people so hard... their immune system is so vigorous it sometimes kills them.

    During this time of not catching anything I have acquired antibodies to a number of illnesses that I had no idea I had ever had.

    But, the only time I felt as though I had caught something was during a period when I really thought that ME/CFS was nearly over. I was working, socializing, even riding my bike for transportation much of the time.

    I found the experience of someone's (so sorry, braindead!) hairdresser very enlightening.

    I wonder why some of us have this experience and some of us don't? I think it is a significant finding... a little window into our immune response. I just wish we knew what it meant.

    In Peace,
    Rafiki





  11. mrdad

    mrdad New Member

    Umh-Umh. Had to clear my froat for a second! Was
    seldom ill when I lived in the Mountains or had more
    limited contact with people in an otherwise rural set-
    ting! The City is a wonderful enviroment for viruses
    bacterias and other Stuff. Muni bus is a mobil pee-
    tree dish! After a short ride, you've reserved your-
    self for an illness 7 to 10 days hence. I wash my
    hands immediately upon returning home from such
    an exposure. Had a "bad cold" at Thanksgiving only
    to fight it and get "well" in time for a visit from another
    one at Christmas! Oh well. Stay off the buses as ya
    can!

    As Woody Allen said in "Take the Money and Run", ' I
    recognize the Name, but not the Face'" Ya just won-
    der sometimes where people go when they"showup
    missing"?

    "See" ya in the A.M, "K"?
    MRDAD




    [This Message was Edited on 04/04/2007]
  12. lease79

    lease79 New Member

    Whom never catches anything going around.
    The kids get colds & bugs all the time, not to mention vomiting wogs & often I am the only one who doesn't get them.
    It's been that way ever since I got sick back when I was in my early teens.
    That said, when I do get a cold it really takes me by surprise.

    **Edited to add that I am not on any meds, except for reflux.**
    [This Message was Edited on 04/04/2007]
  13. CanBrit

    CanBrit Member

    For most of my life I had a severely weak immune system. I would come down with anything and everything that was around.

    Since my fibro diagnosis 3 years ago, I pretty much don't get anything. If I get the start of a cold, it's gone in a day. The only problems I've had recently have been a conjunctivitis like condition in my eyes. Weird!

    I pretty much think that our bodies are fighting these syndromes so strongly, they don't have the time to let anything else in.


    Eileen
  14. mgmarble

    mgmarble New Member

    I also never get sick, everyone around me can be really sick, but I never catch it.
  15. mgmarble

    mgmarble New Member

    I also never get sick, everyone around me can be really sick, but I never catch it.
  16. droufs

    droufs New Member

    I never catch the cold of flu. My family can be sick, I am taking care of them, but never get sick. I have just recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but have had it for around 5 years. Never once been sick. If my family is sick, I take a zinc tablet.
  17. mrdad

    mrdad New Member

    I really didn't think about or realize that people with
    CFS and/or Fibro are oft times immune to other-
    wise "normal maladies"? May have to expedite
    that Lyme test of mine as the Symptoms are so
    similar. (?) I'd been bitten by ticks during my
    nine plus years living in the Sierra and my adult
    Daughter has had it for years now. "Pestered" my
    Doctor 3 1/2 years ago to authorize a test for me
    but seemed little interested! Finally he placated
    my frequent request by telling me it "had been
    done" but came up negative!

    My med files show a reference to two occasions
    whereby the test was requested but never authorized.
    My present Doc is wonderful and supportive. Don't
    think he knows quiet what to make of this situation.
    Have my Old Docs private Email in Illinois. If aft
    two different testing methods I still come up pos-
    tive, this kid is gonna be very angry about the 4yrs
    of "treatment" that may have been critical to me!
    The blatant ETHICAL violation here is wholly none
    acceptable! His 'puter will be "ablaze' when I'm
    finished with him. I'm very angry as ya can tell!

    "Ticks" me off!!
    But ewe awl have a good day, "K"?
    MRDAD
    [This Message was Edited on 04/05/2007]
  18. cherylsue

    cherylsue Member

    I have relapsing/remitting CFS. I do catch colds, and they set me back a spell for a month. Sometimes, they exacerbates my CFS, and I have a bad relapse lasting additional months.

    Go figure.

    CherylSue
  19. Densgirl

    Densgirl New Member

    The flu went throught every person in my department, but me. This has been true since my illness progressed to where it is now and that was about 5 years ago. Some trade off. I don't get the flu, I just feel like I have it most of the time. I definitely hope I don't get it in addition to how I feel now.

    densgirl
  20. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I'm going to see what else I can find out about this. It's tricky to figure out what words to google and the hunt moves slowly. If I find out anything more than Gore posted I will report back.

    Much thanks all who answered. I suppose we should be happy that there is an upside to this but, personally, I'd rather get colds! Call me ungrateful if you wish :)

    MrDad, if you could get treated for Lyme as well as the iron problem... could much better health be in your future?! Wouldn't that be grand! Fingers crossed! I read, yesterday, that your daughter has Lyme, too. So sorry! And, that you have been more tired lately which is not surprising given how many women you're taking care of! Oh, and, "I have a gub." Get it?

    Off to google! Thanks again, everyone.

    In Peace,
    Rafiki