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Immunity
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Immunity

Does MS make it more difficult to fight off viruses, such as colds, once a person gets sick?  I don't feel like I get sick necessarily more often than others, but once I do catch a cold, I get really sick and have a hard time getting over it and always seem to end up on antibiotic due to secondary infections.

barbie  
Tags: viruses
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Hi, Barbie. I don't think we've chatted before.

Someone more knowledgeable than I will have to respond to whether MS makes one more susceptible to infections. I do know, though, that the opposite is true--infections make an MS flare more likely. When the immune system is compromised by an infection, I guess sometimes it doesn't know where to stop in producing a reaction, often causing an over-reaction.

I am undiagnosed, however, so maybe you could tell us whether you get flares after a cold and so on.

ess
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Hi Ess
No we haven't chatted, I've only been around a few days.  I think I'm kind of an odd duck in that I have been diagnosed, but don't have any physical symptoms other than my neurogenic bladder.  I also have fatigue and cognitive problems.  When I get a virus I'm very tired and the brain doesn't want to work right, but (knock on wood) I've never had numbness, pain or paralysis from the MonSter.  I have lesions on an MRI and on the last in August, I had more than 3 years ago.  I also have a 3 SD deficiency on auditory (who knows how long I'll have to sit here before I can come up with the screening I'm trying to tell you about, 'cause the name of it just went south!).  Got it!  And it only took about 10 mins  : )  Evoked potential!!!!  Anyway, what that seems to mean for me is that I just can't listen as fast as people talk.  I especially have difficulty listening to television and understanding what they're saying, but my hearing is perfectly normal.  
I guess I'm saying that it's difficult for me to say that I get flares, because it's not physical symptoms you can see.  Yes I seem to have a lot more trouble "keeping up" mentally sometimes, especially when I'm extra tired, sick or stressed.
Hope this makes sense.  I feel that finally I have met people who understand.  Thank you.
Barb
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Hi, Barb, Welcome to our forum.  I hope you like it here as much as we do.  You ask a good question and one we must answer periodically.  The answer to your question is no.  People with MS do not have any more infections that the people without MS.  What does happen is that when we DO get an infection, the infection kicks up our immune system to fight it.  When our immune system is stimulated the MS often acts up with old symptoms acting up or new ones appearing (ie. a relapse).  

So you will get the same number of colds you would get without MS, but then your symptoms act up - which in your case seem to be severe fatigue and the cognitive stuff. (Dontcha just hate getting stupid?!!).  That's why you feel like you can't fight it off, but it's the fatigue of MS on top of the fatigue of the infection.  Often the MS symptoms will follow the onset of the infection by 1 to a few days.

You are describing flares - if we are speaking in the context of MS.  And I can't say what you have.  Fatigue is just as real - and a heck of a lot more debilitating than numbness - And we all understand about the mental stuff and trying to "keep up."  That's real and physical, too.

Yep, we surely do understand.  What is your neurologist saying about these things, the lesions and the neurogenic bladder?  (which is not normal for a 51 year old)  Have you had a spinal MRI?

I'm a JayHawk by birth and come from a long line of KUers.  ROCK CHALK!!  Hope you find us engaging, supportive and informative.  That's why we're here and that's why we stay.

Quix
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Avatar_f_tn
A fellow Jayhawk!  No wonder you're so smart.  I got my BS in Lawrence and MS at KU Med Center in special ed.  

And yes, I do hate getting stupid!!  But your information makes me feel a lot less stupid.  I've been diagnosed as having MS since 02, and know I've had it sense at least 95 when I was diagnosed with neurogenic bladder (which I know isn't normal.)  I just always poo poo that because after learning to cath it doesn't really affect my life that much.  

I saw my neuro last month who then told me that my MRI last August showed more lesions but not enough to concern her that I needed different medication (than Avonex) since I wasn't showing clinical symptoms.  I guess I thought that meant I wasn't dragging a leg or something.  I told her I was still fatigued but not so bad since I take a nap every day and I didn't even talk about cognitive issues again, 'cause I figured that was old news.  Anyway, she said do a repeat MRI in August 08 and compare to see if there's more lesions that would warrant a change in medications.  

Thank you for telling me my symptoms are real and physical, too.  You know people are always telling me how great I look and how lucky that the MS isn't affecting me, and then I just smile and say yes I know (and think that's why I had to quit my teaching job, that I loved, so I could stay home and take naps and not beat myself up constantly trying to remember what these kids' names were and what the heck I was about to say to them!)  So....now I'm going to work really hard at not letting these people make me feel like I really ought to be doing a lot more than I am since I obviously have no "real" symptoms.

I know I'm really going to like you Quix, and everybody else here on the forum too.  Thank you!  And just maybe, some of the stuff I learned about living with Learning Disabilities will come in handy in helping someone else along the way.

Barb
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