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Avatar universal

Why am I getting all these infections? :(

Its been a hectic past two months for me. Started off with a respiratory infection and an extremely sore throat. Then I has a folliculitis that had a fungal infection a week later and a two cuts on my testicles which my doctor todl me it was just scracthes but it still freaked me out. Then I had a shingles rash right after that on my back and im only 33. Now Im recovering from a staph infection on both of my legs and my sore throat has returned for two week straight now which antibiotics are helping. I never had so many infections in my life in such a short period of time. I believe it may be attributed to my almost daily anxiety which kicked in August of last year. Ive read that anxiety and stress can mess up your immune system and I think thats what causing all the infections im getting but im not sure.  Any advice? I went to my doctor but they dont seemed to worried about the influx infections im getting and they just treat them as they come. Im praying this stops and Im trying to keep a positive outlook.
2 Responses
1415174 tn?1453246703
COMMUNITY LEADER
Hi and sorry you have been sick. Anxiety can lower your immune system. Do you eat well? Having a sore throat with a viral infection is normal.  I get folliculitis too. It is usually a staph type of bacteria. I don't know where I got mine either but that type of bacteria is common in the environment and on your skin. Maybe you are doing something that causes irritation to that part of the skin?
Regarding the second viral infection did you have a lung infection? Why did they give you antibiotics? Did they do a respiratory culture. Antibiotics don't work on colds. They only work on bacteria. But the doctors over treat with antibiotics and you probably got over it naturally. People can get more than one cold or a cold and flu in the same year and  usually it is more than a couple of weeks apart. You usually get a different strain of a virus. It can happen and does.
Do they test your blood once  a year for a complete blood count? If that is normal your immunity should be okay.
How do you know you had a Shingles rash? Was it diagnosed by a doctor or did it just look and feel like that?
How often do you shower? Depending on how oily your skin is showering too much can cause you to get dry skin or wear off the fatty acids on your skin that are protective. If you have very dry skin a shower every other day can be okay. If you exercise, though, I would shower after that. Do you clean your towels often?
So far I don't see any problems. I am sorry if you really got shingles so early. You can get a new vaccine that is 90% effective. I believe it can prevent another outbreak. You should check with your doctor on that topic.
regards,
mkh9
4 Comments
p.s. try washing your hands after being in public, and especially during cold and flu season. All you have to do is touch your eye, nose or mouth and you can get a cold or flu. Also, of course if someone coughs or sneezes  near you. You can also use hand sanitizers.
mkh9
Thank you for your response. I believe I eat well and I also take daily vitamins. Not sure how I got staph infection on me legs. I dont shave them or anything. Ive never had a lung infection before. I was given antibiotics  first for a fungal infection in my genital area, then for strep throat, then right after for the staph infection. I actually havent had a blood test this year, I will have to ask this week for one to make sure my immune system is working properly.  I know I had a shingles rash because I was diagnosed and put on aciclovir for it.  I shower twice a day, cold showers in the morning and warm showers at night.  I change my towels once a week as well as my bedsheets. I started using antibacterial soap after I had a the fungal infection(follicutis) in my genital area.  My doctor told me to stop using that soap because she believes it may have been a contributing factor of the staph infection on my legs.
Hi, some people get recurring staph infections.  Using antimicrobial soap can create resistance so it is best not to use it. You are young to get Shingles.  Usually you get it at around 50 or older. Staph are in the environment and present normally on the skin. Usually you get an infection unless there is a cut, abrasion,  or lowered inmunity. But i have. a really good immune system and still got a combined strep bacteria and fungal folliculitis a couple of times.  I don't know why either but one gets exposed to them in the environment.  If you are worried you can see a specialist.  I am not sure it is that unusual.  Try to use moisturizer and also don't touch the area where the staph is as it can get spread around to pants, underwear,  towels etc. So while you have the infection maybe pat  dry the area witva separate towel and don't reuse it. Wash those in hot soapy water. Wash hands uf you touch it
Regards
mkh9
One more thought.  I noticed you said you shower twice a day. That is too much. You can strip the protective layers off. So if there isn't a major reason i would not shower that much.  Once a day is plenty.
mkh9
Avatar universal
Staph is ubiquitous. Basic hygiene prevents it most but not all of the time.

Shingles is not uncommon at your age. Also, it is often an incorrect diagnosis.

I'm pretty sure you've already had a CBC with differential.  If not, get it.

IMHO, you also need a full 3 to 4 hour glucose tolerance test to see if perhaps diabetes plays a role.

You should have an exam, with history, etc., by a board certified, competent MD and lab. The MD should also make a decision re testing the competence of your immunological  system.
7 Comments
I agree with all of the above. Getting the blood sugar is a good idea. Also, though, The Hemoglobin A1C is better than the glucose tolerance test. They don't do the other one anymore. The A1C is more accurate. If they do the tolerance test the lab or doctor isn't up to date.
regards,
mkh9
You're right about the HbA1c, in part. It's a better screening test but the GTT is more specific.

Also, not that many people (happily) have this prob...but few docs know that an elevated CEA (indicator of colon cancer) can be caused by diabetes and/or metabolic syndrome.

A few years ago, I had just had a "good" PET scan, i.e., no cancer detected. Just prior to the PET, and the reason I decided to get the PET was that I had a high CEA (which in the past had been an incredibly accurate marker for my colon/liver cancer). I also knew I was diabetic.

I asked four colleagues, all really smart MDs, if they knew of a correlation between diabetes and increased CEA. All four said there was no correlation.

Checking the world-wide medical literature, I found two big studies that showed there can be such a correlation.  I reduced my carbs and re-checked my CEA about a month later and it was back to its normal range.  Obviously I was enormously relieved, and shocked that almost no one knew that.

Had it not been for PET scans over the past 20+ years, I'd have been long gone from Stage 4 metastatic colon to liver cancer.


There is one other item I'd like to address: If you have had a "bonafide" fungal infection in your crotch, then there's unfortunately a "good" chance that you do have diabetes. In my many years as a dermatologist, every adult male with a crotch fungus infection was sent out for sugar tests. I can't give you a precise percentage, but the number of diabetic men I found was even higher than I expected.  Most non-dermatologists (and a few poorly-trained derms) just call any crotch rash a "fungus." That is seldom the actual case.
Two of the four docs I asked were board-certified endocrinologists....
GerryG13,
Sorry you had colon cancer. Thanks for the input. I have not seen the correlation of CEA to diabetes. So you are saying that if you have diabetes you will have a false positive CEA. However, one could have both. It is an interesting finding.
Not necessarily. I'm saying that worldwide studies of tens of thousands of people have demonstrated, as is true of me, that increased CEA can be associated with diabetes or other metabolic syndrome.

But it's not always, so I am not saying that everyone with diabetes will have a false positive CEA. The reality is that, if one's CEA is elevated, I believe one needs to be checked for cancer in general, and colon cancer in particular.

After I found my high CEA (which, in me, has ALWAYS been associated with liver metastases), my first stop was to the PET scanner. I think the PET scan is far and away the best test for cancer in the body. I'd absolutely have been dead 15 to 18 or so years ago had the PET scan not become available for general good use.

My back story, if you're interested is this:  In 2000-2001, I was visiting my sister in DC. Her good friend is a radiologist there and it was time for me to get a CT. PET scanners were pretty unusual in those days.

The radiologist assured me that my CT was perfect and that he read it carefully. By LUCK and by G-d, I had known about PET scans from my perusal of the generally available literature. By LUCK and by G-d, the radiologist had, just a few weeks prior to my being in DC, installed a PET scanner and he had just "hired" a fella from a nearby med school. That fella was an older, retired MD, with some experience reading PET scans.

Lo, my sister's friend (the radiologist) kept telling me that a PET was not necessary, that my CT was perfect. It's not that I didn't believe him, but I prevailed and he did the PET. I just had a feeling....

And the old fella saw my first liver metastasis. Coordinating with the CT, they both localized it to my liver. OMG, what a scary time. I truly thought I was as good as dead.

On return to Miami, I had an amazing surgeon remove that lobe of the liver. I was sure I was not going to survive the surgery.  In antediluvian days (when I was in school), liver surgeries, at times, just exsanguinated. I had one foot in the grave. My recovery was quick and uneventul. Lucky I had lost a bunch of weight prior to that surgery...and I had started on a walking campaign about a year and a half prior to the surgery.  

Anyway, second liver metastasis was in 2006. My oncologist (at that time) urged me to stop doing the PET scans every four to six months as I had been doing. He said I just didn't need them so often. Believe it or not, I got one a few months after that visit, and, BOOM, there was the second liver metastasis.

The second surgery by my amazing surgeon went smoothly, but it hurt a lot more and took many months to recover. I did have heavy-duty chemo in the two or three months prior to the second liver surgery.

In 2008, my CEA went up. I wasn't yet a diabetic (as far as I knew), and my PET showed another liver metastasis.

So my third liver met was in 2008. The surgeon didn't want to operate again. He sent me for a radio-frequency ablation. At the time, I could not find anyone in Miami whom I felt was qualified to do the RFA.

So I flew to Hopkins. Believe it or not the Hopkins' doc MISSED the tumor twice on different visits. At the third visit, I spoke up. I told the Hopkins' doc that he knew he missed it twice already. I asked him to please put me under anesthesia and find the cancer. And when you've found it and are sure you're in the middle of it, then blast it. And, I added, when you think you've blasted it enough, then please, please, please blast it another 50%.

I explained to Hopkins' doc that that day was my last bite of the apple, and that I assumed to do what I asked was out of his protocol. But I told him I'd sign a waiver...and that I'd much prefer to die on his operating table than be eaten up slowly by the cancer.

That fine doctor told me he needed to think about it; talk to some colleagues; then came back almost an hour later and said he would do as I asked.

My recovery from this enormous ablation was painful and slow, but I mostly recovered. So I stayed without cancer (as far as I knew) from 2009 till July/August, 2019.

Then the liver metastasis appeared a fourth time. I had what's called "irreversible electroporation" at the University of Miami Sylvester Institute on August 7, 2019. As of last look on PET on December 4, 2019, the cancer seemed to be gone, thank the Lord.

As a side note, my CEA was perfect with this last met.

Certainly four months is too soon to even start to think that cancer won't come again. I know the game. I know doctors make plenty of mistakes.

It took me hours of poring over the world literature (on line) to find the two studies that demonstrated that.

Let me mention another doctor's mistake, actually two mistakes. One by the doctor who "read" my carotid ultrasound about a year ago; and the other by me failing to carefully read that report. That report showed my left internal carotid artery was COMPLETELY blocked, and I just happened to come across the report while I was cleaning up some stuff. So the test was a year old already.

Quickly I scheduled a repeat test at a different facility. The repeat showed NO blockage and that my blood was flowing perfectly. Sure, some arteriosclerosis at age 78, but no blockage. WOW!!  Like a ton of bricks off my shoulders.

As it true of most folks, I'm sure, I pray to G-d to take me when he's ready, but please take me painlessly and during my sleep.

I am not a particularly religious guy, but this kind of history, with so many doctor mistakes, and so much "luck" tended to reinforce my belief in G-d.

Well, you got me started, and sorry I got a bit long-winded. Be well, mkh.
Wow! What a story! It made me cry. I read it to my husband We had a terrible time with my brother in laws GBM brain tumor.  Also, my mother had grade 4 cervical cancer when I was 10. They gave her a radium implant then a month of cobalt radiation.  Obviously she was never the same.  We ALL make mistakes.  I know i have. Good thing you listened to your gut feeling.
Regards
mkh9
Were I to tell you about all the radiation I had...and enough chemo to kill a herd of elephants, you'd really wonder how I'm still alive. I certainly wonder.

But G-d,  as always, is in charge.

After my first colon cancer surgery, in 1997, they told me I didn't need chemo or radiation. I opted for both. They were pretty terrible.

I have no actual idea if they did help, but I always have done what I thought best.

Now that I'm a little "long in the tooth," and never expected to live this long, I don't know how much I have left in the "tank."

Took my very Beautiful Wife for a nice lunch; went to my daughter's home (just a few minutes from where we live) to see her,my grandson and his new pup (and to bring the pup a few toys); then we stopped at a markete to bring home some ribs, chicken, veggies, etc., so we'd have something for dinner.

Now it's close to 320 in Miami, and I'm heading for a little siesta.

Thanks for your note.
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