Autoimmune and illnesses?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 925
   Posted 5/10/2010 8:28 PM (GMT -7)   
As I am still coming to grips with this diagnosis, and the fact that it is an autoimmune issue................are we more susceptible to colds and such?  I take my vit C and wash my hands A LOT.  Had a couple of very mild colds over the last few years.
Since it seems that we have an overactive immune systems it would seem that we would be at less of a risk.  True or Not?
I also do not get the flu shot every year.  Feelings on that?
Of course all of this is effected by the meds many of us take, correct?
Just getting kinda confused by it all.
Diagnosed (FINALLY) UC Sept 09/Diagnosis amended 5-3-10 to Crohn's
Taking Pentasa 500mg/8x/day
Entocort 3X/day
Bentyl as needed
1000 mg Vitamin C
Prilosec 1X/day

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 1768
   Posted 5/10/2010 9:15 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't know whether or not we pick up more illnesses than the average person, but I do know that it takes me a lot longer to get over things than other people I know. If someone else has a 24 hour virus, it takes me at least 4 days to get over it. Defintely the fact that you wash your hands a lot helps you not pick up germs that lead to viruses and the such, so keep doing that!

As for flu shots...I definitely get them. I worked in a hospital for 7 years and the infectious disease representative basically told me that the worst that could be done is it has no effect, and you end up getting the flu anyway (I was curious if I should get it being on Humira) It's a dead vaccine, so you can't get symptoms or get the flu from it, so the way I see it, if it helps me not get 1 illness, it's worth it.

32 yr old female-dx with Crohn's in '97 after emergency resection and appendectomy, 2nd resection '05, Bilateral pulmonary emboli 10/09
Currently on Humira, Omeprazole, Effexor, Seroquel, Calcium, Vit D
Coumadin stopped 3/15/10!!!!

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 5/11/2010 6:58 AM (GMT -7)   
I don't seem to get sick more because of my Crohns. I do get the flu shot yearly, and I think that has helped me alot. I generally get maybe one cold or sinus infection a year. I think thats pretty average myself. good luck!
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease 
Crohn's Disease for over 34 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium, Vit D, and Xanax prn. Resections in 2002 & 2005. Also diagnosed w/ Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, & Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 76
   Posted 5/11/2010 7:58 AM (GMT -7)   
I was diagnosed last year and am now on an immunosuppresent. I had flu jab this winter and so far have been ok. I also work in a school where I am in direct contact with lots of germs and bugs, and I don't seem to be any worse than I was before.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 884
   Posted 5/11/2010 10:41 AM (GMT -7)   

I don't think it's the autoimmune disease that makes us get sick more easily but the immunosuppressants that most of us take to keep the disease under control.  I was getting upper respiratory infections every 2 months while on Humira and Cimzia, but they went away once I got on prednisone.  You're right that it seems we should NOT get sick if we have overactive immune systems, but they fight things they shouldn't fight (like our own bodies), so they aren't really working the way they should and we can't apply logic to them. 

I get the flu shot every year, as soon as my work offers them, because I do seem to get sick if anyone in the office or at home is sick. 

Crohn's Disease, Acid Reflux/Gastritis, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Endometriosis, Arthritis, Depression/Anxiety.  Too many meds to list them all.  =) 

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 88
   Posted 5/11/2010 3:24 PM (GMT -7)   
I was told because of my crohns and my petenasa that i have a comnprimised immune system so I have to stay far far away from people that are sick. I'm actually home sick from work now since last Friday because my co-worker had a cold and now I can't seem to get rid of it.
imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth is more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1885
   Posted 5/11/2010 3:35 PM (GMT -7)   
For many years, docs assumed Crohn's patients had overactive immune systems, but recent research indicates they have underactive immune systems.
BUT all docs agree that Crohn's patients have dysfunctional immune systems. In other words, the body does not effectively and efficiently fight off bad bugs.
Plus many Crohn's meds suppress the immune system, so Crohn's patients on these meds can get sick faster, and sicker faster, than other people - also, a cold can more easily turn into a bacterial infection.
Now that my daughter is on LDN plus modified SCD diet, she hasn't caught so much as a cold within the past 9 months. And this is a kid who was always sick. Her sed rate was brought down by LDN to only 2, but her CRP was over 2 the last time we getting a new round of blood tests this week. 
Daughter (22) Dx'd Crohn's 3/06. Misdiagnosed for two years, including by top pediatric Crohn's specialist as stress. No symptoms for the past three years. March '09 colonoscopy showed stricture gone but two spots of inflammation in TI. Used LDN to taper off Entocort last fall. (Was on Entocort since April 06.) Never had D. 4.5 mg LDN, SCD multivit, homemade yogurt, 5000IU vit D3, 1000 mg calcium, 27-54 mg iron, monthly B12 shots, daily oral B12 1000, 10mg zinc. SCD diet modified years ago to include potatoes and rice. 

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 303
   Posted 5/11/2010 3:36 PM (GMT -7)   
I am very seldom sick with colds. My big enemy is allergies and sinus issues. I am constantly around a 4 year old in the winter who gets every infection imagineable and I was not sick once. I don't think the crohns itself is what compromises the immune system. It is probably the meds that we are taking and I was not on meds until just recently. Now being on entocort I am a little more careful about germs
Dx with crohns February 25, 2010. But suspect I had it since 2002 with very mild symptoms.
4 lialda a day.
3 entocort daily for the next few months
hyosamine for daytime
Bentyl for evening
Ferrous Sulfate(iron supplement)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1885
   Posted 5/11/2010 3:55 PM (GMT -7)   
My daughter had sinus issues, too, which tended to turn into bacterial infections. But now that her diet and meds have changed, her sinus issues, which she has had all her life, are zero.
In fact, when she had Crohn's symptoms but was misdiagnosed and untreated, her overall health was at its worst. When your sed rate is 58, Crohn's inflammation coursing through your body, then it's bound to affect your health. Perhaps, since the body is already in a state of inflammation, this is likely to trigger allergic responses and sinus issues.
The Entocort you are on is the highest dose, so hopefully it will do the trick. But it is definitely suppressing your immune system, so you are right to be careful about germs. Each time my daughter was on more than one pill of ENtocort, she caught something which turned into an infection.
The holy grail is to find a med that effectively fights the Crohn's without harming the overall immune system. Which leaves most traditional meds out.  

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 1768
   Posted 5/11/2010 6:40 PM (GMT -7)   
One of the side effects of Humira (actually listed as a side effect) is sinus infections. Since being on Humira, I've had too many to count. I also have allergies so I attribute some of them to allergies too.

32 yr old female-dx with Crohn's in '97 after emergency resection and appendectomy, 2nd resection '05, Bilateral pulmonary emboli 10/09
Currently on Humira, Omeprazole, Effexor, Seroquel, Calcium, Vit D
Coumadin stopped 3/15/10!!!!

Becoming undone
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 927
   Posted 5/11/2010 7:30 PM (GMT -7)   
I know that before the anti-TNF...I didn't get all that sick, but when I did...woooooboy! Oh, I also know that my immune system over-reacts...I have had most every type immunization the military, and laboratories offer (Rabies, Typoid, Yellow fever), save anthrax and Y. Pestis...and my body over compensated for all...Huge reactions at the injection sites...fevers, that sort of thing...and my body does not like flu shot over-reacts...but I still get them...cuz the reaction to the influenza is a lot better than actually getting the virus...

I worked in a state health lab, yes, some people CAN get influenza even if immunized (esp in those over 70, compromised immune systems), however, it is much, much less severe and not usually deadly as can be without the I will be getting my vaccinations till I'm 100+ (if I hang on that long...I've still got a long way to go)
"The earth laughs in flowers"

Aimee =)
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2004
Total Posts : 1020
   Posted 5/11/2010 8:13 PM (GMT -7)   
You know... they always say you're more susceptible, esp while on immune suppressants, but I've never had any issues. I work with children, the general public, and the homeless population on a daily basis and find myself to be one of the healthier people I work with! I use soap and water - I avoid hand sanitizers unless absolutely necessary - and typically do not receive a flu vaccine and rarely have issues. I am slightly "crunchy" in my view on healthcare and avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary as well. That, combined with healthy eating habits and getting enough sleep, I think plays a role in avoiding a lot of the bugs out there. Or at least I've convinced myself of that ;)

My health issues are always just my awful allergies/sinus issues and my Crohns.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 384
   Posted 5/11/2010 8:41 PM (GMT -7)   
i haven't gotten sick in more than a year . . . knock on wood
Crohn's Colitis diagnosed 6/08
Organic SCD since 4/09
Remicade since 6/09
Boswellia + Natren's Healthy Trinity probiotic + Cinnamon + Wild Oregano Oil + vitamin D + zinc + Barlean's fish oil

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 681
   Posted 5/11/2010 11:11 PM (GMT -7)   
I was told when I started Remicade if I got a fever to go to the hospital so the cause could be treated immediately. 3 years of remicade no fever yet only 1 head cold.
Male, 54 years old with Crohn's since 15 years old, diagnosed at age 46. Terminal ileum resected 2002. 5 months of remission. Crohn's has now been active since early 2003. Had a gall bladder removed Nov. of 2009. Currently on Remicade every 8 weeks, Nexium, Iron, B-12 injection every 4 weeks,5-asa Asacol, Morphine Sulfate as needed for pain. Cymbalta for long term pain control. 5-asa Salofalk, Entecort, Imuran and Prednisone in the past.

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