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Why are sinus infections, cold, flu SO much worse for us?
10 Replies
m.e. - January 7

I had a horrible headache for over a week. I think I have a sinus infection from drinking white wine over the holidays...are there no pleasures left for us??! I have now missed 3 days of wiped out, exhausted. I got an antibiotic yesterday, but can't tell if fibro is flaring too. Why do we seem to get hit worse with stuff like this? Just wondering....Thanks. I have read that fibro is NOT autoimmune--not sure about who's right on that one.


Stacey373 - January 7

Hi M.E. - I really don't know whether Fibro is autoimmune or not. It seems to me that when we get sick it just intensifies all of our other pain and problems. when a normal person gets sick, they usually ache all over because of it. So with us we always ache all over, so then we get sick and it just makes us feel 100 times worse!

I hope you start to feel better soon....Stacey :o)


m.e. - January 7

Thanks Stacey. You always offer a kind word. I had been doing so well and was maybe getting kinda cocky with managing the fibro lately. Then, you can always count on it to come and kick you in the butt/humble you!




I totally know how you feel! It seems as though every little thing that normal ppl deal with, it over 100 times worse for us! Colds, flus, surgeries, headaches, EVERYTHING. It can be totally frustrating and hard to deal with! I just posted a new forum about this in the General Discussion. I get tired too. KNow that you aren't alone!


Kristina167 - January 12

Hi, m.e., I am new to this site and forum, and am a 25 yr old female. I am so happy I found this site!

I am in the process right now about finding out whether or not I have fibromyalgia, though all the symptoms fit, have been told this by one doctor who is referring me now to a rheumatologist. . Even though I have not been diagnosed 100% yet, I felt I could help you by giving you a few tips and also tell you my own experience with infections, as I am battling through a sinus-type infection right now! Sorry about the long post, but I have a lot to share! lol

I have suffered from life threatening allergies all my life, leading to a weakened immune system, and as a child, would get sinus infections almost once a month until I got my tonsils removed at 12. I was put on so many antibiotics that I started to become immune to certain types because I took so many of them. Now i try to avoid antibiotics at all costs, except of course, as in your situation it was so severe that it lasted a week and you needed to go on antibiotics. The rule of thumb for myself is after 10 days I don't feel remarkably better, I go to the doctor. I was reading on a site about infections that said after 14 days, no matter what, the infection should be treated by a doctor.

My allergist told me that the reason one gets a sinus infection is that after having a cold, your nasal cavities and sinus' are swollen, and if mucous gets stuck up there, it creates an infection. The real trick here is, as soon as you start feeling stuffed up, you take every measure possible to alleviate these passages to ward of infection such as:

- I use a nasal spray 4 times a day of a saline solution, which is just salt and water. It doesn't taste too pleasant going down your throat, but it really helps!

- I always make sure I am constantly blowing my nose, to help get rid of the mucous.

- Try taking something like tylenol to help with sinus pain and ward off any potential fever.

- Another great way to help loosen up mucous: steam. I boil some watter and place it at the bottom of the bowl, then after a minute, I put my head over it with a towel and slowly breath in the steam: warning: people who suffer from asthma should not do this as it could cause an attack. It would be better to get steam from a hot shower.

- and the tried and true methods of drinking hot liquids as well really helps.

- also, for sore throat, gargling with warm salt water really helps.

Even if you are on antibiotics, all of these methods will help ward off the infection faster.

Also, I don't know how this would work for everybody, but when I get sick, I make sure to be having cinnamon in my food everyday. I would check out its health benefits online. It is supposed to help ward off infections and can also help with migraines and headaches, which could also help you right now with your headache. I suffer from migraines and just recently found out of this benefit, so I will definitely start to try it!

I have been eating a lot of cinnamon these past few days and have also been feeling slowly better as well. Not sure if that is just due to the infection running its course, but its worth a try! Cinnamon tastes really good on banannas, apples, even in yogurt!
Warning about cinammon: it is known to thin the blood so if someone is on blood thinners or is taking large amounts of aspirin should be wary and make sure there is not interactions with other medications.

So I hope you are already getting better by now, but next time you are sick, try these things out so hopefully you won't have to take antibiotics!

I thought I would let you know what I have been going through since my symptoms of fibromyalgia started about a year and a half ago. Even though I suffer from many allergies and got infections as a child, I used to never get "typically" sick with colds or flu's, but more allergy related illness. The, all of the sudden, i started to get colds and flu's for the first time. I also got shingles 4 time in a year and a half. I believe this has something to do with fibromyalgia though I cannot be 100% sure. I know lack of sleep and being in constant pain leads to a weakened immune system, which makes one vulnerable to infection.

Also, to answer the second question: fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disease, which is a wonderful thing to hear for all who suffer from fibromyalgia. While the pain one experiences from fibromyalgia can create at times a dismal sort of existence, the pain one experiences at least is not causing structural damage to the body, meaning it doe not harm the tissues or cartilage in the body.

If anyone is experiencing swollen areas of the body it should not be fibromyalgia and should see a doctor to figure out what else it could be.

For an autoimmune disorder, the antibodies we have in our body which are supposed to protect ourselves against infection, turn on its own host and attacks the bodies own tissues, which leads to inflammation which causes damage and leads to autoimmune disorders.

Someone who has fibromyalgia might also have an autoimmune disease though. People who suffer from Celiac's diease, thyroid diease, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are all auto-immune diease. I don't know if someone can have both rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia at the same time, maybe someone who is better versed on he subject could let me know! If that is the case than methods both for fibromyalgisa and autoimmune disorders should be followed together.

There is a widely accepted notion that people with fibromyalgia the neurotransmitters in the brain do not work properly. Areas of the brain where the pain receptors lie are not receiving the right messages to the brain, which creates a hyper-sensitivity to pain. Many specialists believe the pain can be localized in certain areas of the body in particular, such as the fibromyalgia hot spots. While one can feel extreme pain, it is not actually causing structural damage to the tissues, which, at least is some consolation that the pain will never cause deteriation of the body, just the quality of life. Which is why sites like this are son important to keep ourselves aware of the condition and how we can help oursleves!

Take Care and I hope this info finds you and helps you in the future, good luck!!


m.e. - January 16

Thank you SO much Stacey, Inpaindaily, and Kristina. The information you shared was very helpful!! I appreciate all the time and concern you put in the post. As a follow up, I am on a different antibiotic and slowly getting better. I have made a connection of drinking white wine and my recurring sinus woes. Am giving it up for awhile until I can maybe have it again. Thanks and feel good!


George - January 16

It is hard to know when we are getting sick or is the symptoms, or combination... It takes me two days to know...

BUT one part of your question is important. Alcohol and socializing... It is a drug of choice of our time, so what do we DO in social gathering where people drink?

It is also funny to look everybody gets in alcohol space, and we are drinking water
(and feeling hang over form our symptoms). In fact socializing itself is harder if you have to be by 7 pm close to the bed... as I do.

I smoking marijuana isnt a solutions since we are in fog already? why add more? but when i smoke marijuana i have no any increase of the symptoms comparing to a drop of alcohol that sets full train in motion.


Kristina167 - January 21

Glad to hear you are slowly feeling better m.e.! I also notice after drinking I feel much worse then before, so I have also cut it out for now. Hope this helps with your pain as well!


January - January 21

Hi. This is for Kristina 167. You are only 25, and I can relate to everything you say. I'm much older; was sick like you my whole life, the infections, the low immune system, etc. Kristina, please check into celiac disease and gluten intolerance. It might not be "your" answer. But, on the other hand, it might be. I read a book called Dangerous Grains by James S. Braly MD - in the back he lists pages of diseases (like yours) linked to gluten allergy. Many "official" looking medical websites don't have enough about gluten, so find a celiac support group for info. Most US doctors are not well-educated about it, they dismiss it as a GI disease; but it might be an auto-immune disease. There is a genetic link. It can have no symptoms, or symptoms like you are having - many typical of gluten problems. DO you have diabetes in your family? Lactose intolerance? Migraines?Does beer bloat you up? Do you get painful cracks at the sides of your mouth too? Celiac. Ask your doctor for a gluten antibody test before you go gluten free. And - you can come out negative but still have gluten problems.

I still have fibro (or whatever this is - I think they throw "pain and I don't know" into the "fibro" pile) but gluten free diet + lots of supplements really help my pain and my immune system.

Best luck to you.


Kristina167 - January 22

Hi January, thank you for taking the time to respond and offer help to me!
I actually have suffered from food allergies my whole life, some of them being life threatening, such as to nuts.

When I had anaphylactic shock last year after accidentally eating something with cashews I found a few months after that every time I ate something with wheat I would become extremely bloated for several days and have symptoms of IBS each time I ate it, so I cut it out of my diet.

I believe this has something to do with the trauma my body had from the attack, and I have myself more sensitive to other foods as well after an attack. I wonder if anyone else found they had this sensitivity or others to food after trauma? It would be interesting to find out.

I also find barley upsets my stomach, but not rye, which I eat a lot of. I am not sure if I have celiac's but I definitely cannot tolerate wheat. But maybe I should get a celiac's test to make sure the other grains I eat might be causing problems I am not aware of, as you said the syptoms can be "silent" in your other post.

The only thing I was worried about getting tested because I believe you still have to be eating all things glutne before the test so they can measure the levels in your blood. I will also check this book out you mentioned, it seems that it would be very informative.

I also get migraines, have lactose intolerance and stay away from beer altogether. I feel though there are many things "hidden" with wheat and I have to be more careful to check all products for byproducts of wheat as well.

I actually subscribe to a great magazine called "Living Without", which is from the US but I get it sent to Canada. The magazine has great ideas for gluten and dairy free recipes as well as interesting stories and info about celiac's. Also, at the back of every issue they have a "gluten free quick start guide" which is a helpful guide with those who are new to celic's. You should check it out!

Also, have you ever been tested for food intolerances? Food intolerances can also take days for symptoms appear, or they might not show at all. Having food intolerances can also cause migraines, increase inflammation in the body as well as a host of other problems.

The most effective way to get tested is through blood results, the scratch arm test on the skin is much less effective when diagnosing intolerances. It is expensive but I have been so sick I am trying all venues to get better. If you get a doctor's prescription and you have insurance it might be covered.

I found out through this test that I was highly intolerant (25 pts is intolerance, these were in the 100's) to red kidney beans, black berries, and egg whites. There were other things as well, but these are the worst.I eat these foods all the time, so it was very informative to find this out.

I just found out last week about this, but I will let you know if any of my symptoms get better because of this. I would suggest this test to you because you might be eating things as well that you are highly intolerant too!

I hope you start feeling better soon and all the best of luck to :)


January - January 22

Hi kristina. Yes! My severe problems with fibro got triggered after multiple surgeries in my 40's, then got life-threatening after more surgeries, antibiotics/steroids in my 50's. I had "flares" and illness my whole life, but no diagnosis. I pushed myself to accomplish a lot, was stressed, and probably burned myself out. Probably had fibro and gluten problems from a young age, just no clue about it. I believe my very elderly grandmother had un-Dx fibro from her 30's - a traumatic childbirth; my mother was diagnosed in her 70's. I suspect my father's family had celiac, undiagnosed.

Had extensive scratch tests as a kid, LOTS of allergies. No celiac Dx. Parents did not follow up with a diet for me. I got a lengthy regimen of shots, drugs, hospitalizations with severe illness, steroids... but got better, especially when I returned to my (then) home, to a rice based diet. I never liked rye or malt (made me nauseous) but I ate wheat, barley and oats. I CRAVED oatmeal cookies -- and they were making me real sick, I discovered!

My current allergist told me scratch tests were ineffective for food allergies -??

]]]]What blood test did you get to check for ALL the different allergies??

I have an appt w/ a gluten specialist months from now, and they told me for a blood Dx I would need to eat gluten for 3 months. I refuse, it makes me too sick. Not doing the intestinal biopsy either. But I hear there is a DNA test. I believe this is a new area, and nobody really knows the difference between celiac and gluten allergy and intolerance....or if there's something else involved. Maybe celiac is an auto-immune disease. I feel better on steroids, but they are so bad, I won't take them.

I agree, many reactions are stealthy, may not show up for several days - and it's things like insomnia, depression, IBS, lowered immunity, bad skin, etc. Keeping a diary is a pain, but it helps identify, especially if you're severely limiting your diet. (I HATE diets, never did a diet in my life; so that's how sick I was, to stay on this.)

I notice now, my tongue gets sore if I get a little something bad for me. Or I get stomach pain or a sudden migraine. (My dentist for decades told me last year he had never seen my gums look so healthy. And, all my blood work, including inflammatory markers, went back to normal. So something's working.)

Not saying gluten is the answer for everyone, but it made a huge difference for me. Didn't cure my fibro, but it sure helped. It seems allergies are everywhere these days. Makes me wonder about genetically modified food.

thanks so much, kristina, I am going to ask about the blood tests for food allergies. best to you!



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