Can you feel your immune system fighting bugs?

Posted , 8 users are following.

So, this might seem like kinda an odd question, but if there's anywhere I can ask an odd question, it's this forum...

I was thinking earlier about how we are constantly exposed to germs, yet only a fraction of those germs actually make us sick (if you're lucky enough to have a 'normal' immune system; I'm very well aware that isn't the case for everyone).

When I do get sick, I get very very sick - sicker than anyone I know. But I don't get sick all that often. I work in an office of 50+ people and not a day goes by that someone isn't coughing or sneezing all over everything. Even if nobody is currently sick, many viruses can survive for weeks on surfaces. It's so gross. But the fact remains that I've only got sick twice this year, and I'm pretty sure I've been in contact with more than 2 nasty viruses in that timeframe.

And that leads me to my strange question. Every now and then, I'll experience something that feels like a mild immune response - something like the start of a cold or flu, but that burns out after a few hours. I might get a sore throat that I'm convinced is the start of an illness (I have chronic tonsilitis but it feels different when it's caused by a virus), and I get really really tired and feel weak and queasy, but after resting for a few hours I'm completely back to normal (I realise that "normal" for a CFS sufferer involves a lot of being tired and weak and queasy, but this is kind of like a brief, intense flare-up - and it would happen to me even before I got CFS).

I've noticed a correlation between these immune flareups and being around somebody who was sick. A few people were coughing with a nasty virus at work today and when I got home I had a pretty bad time, I was sure I was catching it...still recovering, but that was a few hours ago and I feel much better now. Earlier this year my partner had a cold and I thought I was getting it, but it blew over before developing into anything. There are other incidents like this that I can't recall the details of right now.

And actually, the day I first had CFS symptoms, everyone in my office had the flu and I thought I was getting it. Maybe I did get it and fought it off before it could develop any further? And that kick-started my CFS? By the time I got bloodwork done, there were no inflammatory markers to be seen.

Really curious if anyone can relate! I've just been reading a study about CFS being correlated with an over-active immune system, so it seems relevant.

0 likes, 7 replies


7 Replies

  • Posted

    I have not had a cold in years..... literally years. My husband had a rotten one a few months back, sore throat, cough, ear ache, running nose etc.... I had a sore throat, which is quite common for me but it never developed into anything, it never does.

    I have not in fact had any other illness since Swine flu in 2010. CFS developed in 2014.

    I do have IBS which started in 2017.

    I read that CFS may be connected to the Epstein Barr virus too!

    Research everything I say..... and only stop when there's a cure


    Report Reply
  • Posted

    I know what you mean. I woke up shivering one morning a couple of weeks back and then ended up sneezing all day. Next day, I had no sign of a cold at all. Anyway, blame those people who decide to go into work when they're ill with no thought for those who don't want their germs. There are people out there who for them taking a day off work is out of the question. I don't get it.

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      Lee, thats my sister. She's got a rotten cold but goes into work to "show willing" I keep telling her, that her body is telling her to stop and rest. I personally hate Air con, all the germs that are stored in one system. Yuk!

      Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hmm yes this seems to be a big thing amongst most cfs/me sufferers. Although we feel ill all the time we don’t seem to pick up all the nasty bugs that are going around. My grandson always seems to have a cough & runny nose & my partner often gets colds & like you I do suffer from a constant sore throat but sometimes when it gets worse I think ‘here we go, am I going to get this’ but I spray my throat with ultra chloraseptic throat spray & it wards it off. I don’t get out & about much so don’t come into contact with a great deal of people but have been around friends & family when had a cold etc & I’ve seemed to be immune. I’ve had the odd sniffle but not been a full blown cold like years ago.

    Although I have read quite a few cfs/me sufferers recently picking things up so not sure it’s the same for all of us. (I hope I don’t speak too soon now!) ha

    My theory is that every time I have had my blood tests done my immunoglobulin levels have always been higher than the normal range (although my doc has always said it’s not too high outside the normal range to be concerned) this indicates that there are higher than average antibodies made by the body to fight infection. The body knows it is unwell & is constantly producing more antibodies as it thinks it has a virus or infection. It also suggest it is an autoimmune disorder that makes your immune system overreact. Again I don’t understand if they know this why there couldn’t be a simple solution to it.. I have read stories of people who have been excited when they actually pick up a proper cold as it is an indication there body is beginning to work properly (so maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all if that is really the case)

    You do well to work grailmouth. Are you part time?

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Yes you are right.. like the others have commented , i always have a higher than normal white cell count, generally have a sore throat (tonsils are the first line of defenses to air born viruses etc so that explains that) I too will get mild symptoms for about 24hrs then im fine. I only get about 1/4 of the bugs that everyone else gets, but when i get one that sticks im really ill and CFS has a major relapse.

    Yes also for the Glandular fever virus.. it was the start of all my problems at the age of 20.. now 49. The reason for this is when you have an increased viral load due to a bug , it can cause your glandular fever virus to re activate so making your symptoms far worse. This is also linked into the fact we tend to have a higher white cell count , the virus even when dormant causes a constant white cell activation to keep it at bay in the never endings. Ive done so much research over the years and slowly but surely all the bits have fallen into place to explain my CFS and i also have Hyper Pots which is very common with CFS but amazing not many people know about it.

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Hi grailmoth,

    My thoughts about it that, I aren't in the mists of lots of people with viruses that often but my body has these type of reactions and my belief is that the body is reacting to being overwhelmed by something be it physically or mentally or both. my body gives me flu symptoms with perfumes, doing too much, dust, joss sticks, eating things I'm intolerant to. sure there's more to list but, you get the picture. sometimes I can wake up sounding and feeling like I have a cold only to have no symptoms by teatime. We have a remarkable condition albeit one non of us want!


    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Wow, these comments are facinating. There's been a cold going around work, a few weeks ago i was feeling awful and like i was getting flu. I rested and it literally lasted that day then went away. I have a sniffly nose and a little cough but nothing as bad as everyone else.

    Usually i'm the first one to pick up a cold and would stay in bed for a few days.

    It's great to know many others have the same issues as me. (that's why i love this forum!)

    It's a catch 22, would you prefer a heavy cold and not your cfs symptoms or your symptoms but not a heavy cold?

    i know what one i'd pick!

    Report Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up