I was just wondering can people with Lupus or autoimmunes get sinuitis or other infections for that matter? I have a really severe infection in my sinuses, my entire nazal passage is blocked. However, if you have an over active immune system wouldn't you then not be suseptable to infections? I know this is a stupid question, but this is my third infection this winter, and I am wondering if people with Lupus find they have more infections or less? Logically I would think less, but maybe the immune system gets 'tired' and doesn't fight the bad invaders from your body. I've been confused on this point for a while.
The problem in lupus is that the immune system is NOT ONLY overactive but ALSO aberrant, and it doesn't ward off "normal" things the way it ought to do... It's busy doing one thing when the body needs something else done (or something along those lines).
I used to get sinusitis, rhinitis, yeast infections, conjunctivitis, etc.---all sorts of things. Never a dull moment!
FYI, lots of people I know without lupus have had one thing after another all winter. It's been a doozy of a winter!
I sure hope you get some help on this quickly. Hang in there. Sincerely, Vee
When you say you "used to get" various infections, did you do something to get rid of them or lessen their ability to get to you? Or did getting treated for your lupus do the trick? I'm currently on Plaquenil, Relefen, Previcid, and Levothroid (for thyroid).
I have just finished a bout with a sinus infection and I can't even tell you how many yeast infections I have had in my life. Lately, I have been taking acidophilus tablets and biotin for the yeast infections. Plus, I am finally working with someone who really listens to me in the gynecological department. I now use a midwife who told me I may have a sensitivity to latex condoms! Ten years with my former OB/GYN and this never came up!!! Since she said that, life has been totally different in a lot of departments!!
Also, I know that someone can flare due to a virus, but I tend to flare after the fact. I finished my last antibiotic last Friday and, by Wednesday, I wanted to cut my left arm off at the shoulder it hurt so bad and I couldn't keep myself awake. My knees have been swollen and I have a dull ache all over. Lastly, I still have trouble taking a deep breath. It doesn't hurt persay. It feels uncomfortable and like the air just gets caught in my chest. All of this AFTER the virus... Odd?
Thanks for you quick, as always reply. Glad your back on the boards!
This sounds exactly like what I am going through. I got so fustrated last night because I just had one infection, then a cold, like two days of reprieve and now I have this sinuitus thing. It just never ended this winter. I just came back from the Ear nose and throat guy who put me on three allergy meds, two nose drops, and an antibiotic! Drastic I thought, but he said it was really bad. Anyways I was wondering how you or others dealt w/ being ill in the winter time or in general? Were employees and others understanding? I work part time (cut back my hours since I got sick) and am getting my masters (with thesis), and I am totally behind in everything and have taken more sick days this year then I ever have before. I think everyone is getting fed up with it all, and normally I am really a good employee/student, but this whole thing is taking such a toll this year. I feel like I'm sinking in everything and I just hope I can pull it all off. Oh well I'm just complaining. Needed a vent
I, too, get frequent and severe infections. In fact, in 2001, at age 27, I almost died from an ear infection! DEspite already being on an antibiotic for the ear, I developed something called malignant (necrotizing) otitis externa, where the ear infection spreads into the bones of the skull and the soft tissues of the face. Being hospitalized on IV antibiotics saved my life, although at that time, the pain was so bad that I sort of wanted to die. Malignant otitis externa is rare and usually occurs in elderly diabetic people. Well, I was in my 20's and not diabetic, just a lupus head
Mercy, ctjedda, I've never heard of such. Glad you're okay.
I'm also interested in the past tense "used to get", Vee. Why do you not get those problems now? I have a constantly runny nose and should have bought stock in the Kleenex Corp. years ago. My sense of smell has drowned, I think! I would love not having this to deal with. Any ideas?
Hiya, just thought you might be interested in this information.
Patients with lupus are more susceptible to infections because they have altered immune systems, and also because many patients are on treatment (steroids & cytotoxics) that suppresses immune system function, leaving them more prone to infection.
Lupus patients who get infections frequently show worse clinical signs, & require longer treatment than non-lupus patients.
The most common bacterial infections seen in lupus affect the respiratory tract and the urinary tract. Septic arthritis, tuberculosis, salmonella, cold viruses, & shingles are also more common. The most common fungal infection seen in lupus is candida (thrush).
It is important to distinguish between a lupus flare and an infection. Fever and decreased energy are symptoms that are associated with both infections and lupus flares. Any lupus patient who exhibits symptoms that could be an infection or flare should contact her physician. Blood tests such as a white cell count can help to distinguish a flare from an infection.
Patients at high risk of infection should probably take antibiotics before surgical or dental procedures.
Lupus patients should try to minimise their exposure to people who have colds, 'flu, and other infections, although this is easier said than done!
Lupus patients should probably avoid the antibiotics penicillin and septrin (sulfa), as they may exacerbate lupus, and many lupus patients are allergic to them.
It has been previously thought that lupus patients should avoid immunisations because they could exacerbate lupus. However, the vaccine for influenza has now been shown to be safe and effective; the pneumococcal vaccine is also safe, but resultant antibody levels are somewhat lower in patients with SLE. It is not advisable for patients receiving steroids or cytotoxic therapy to have live vaccines, because these drugs cause immune suppression that may promote infection.
Some patients who receive allergy shots (immunotherapy) will have a flare following this treatment. In 1989, the World Health Organisation recommended that patients with autoimmune diseases should not receive allergy shots. Lupus patients should always consult their rheumatologist before receiving immunotherapy.
Hope this gives you answers to your questions. Let me know if you need further information.
Last edited by goldenwings; 02-21-2005 at 05:31 AM.
I still get certain things since starting the Plaquenil, but not as many (meaning variety ) but not as often, either. Previously I had stuff *chronically*, is the difference---would finish one thing and start something else. But this winter, like some of you, I've had a runny nose for 3+ months, plus first trip ever to an ENT. Dx was sinusitis, but I'd have sworn it was my ears, they hurt so much.
CTJEDDA---I know another woman with lupus who had a very serious otitis that sounds a lot like what you describe enduring. She also had IV antibiotics daily for weeks at a time and was seriously ill with the condition. Very frightening. I hope you NEVER have such a thing again! She colored her hair often but has cut way back---not that anyone was sure what the true cause really was. She WAS on Prednisone, FYI.
Barbara, I think my exposure is less than that of some people: no more train & subway rides or office co-workers. This winter I shop off-hours. I wasn't able to get a flu shot, like many folks. Also, I now dutifully use a humidifier, which may help keep sinuses from getting as irritated. Plus I've not had to use steroids. Dunno for sure all the reasons that I do better...
This winter I've been somewhat off for months, but nowhere as sick as many of my friends. Barbara, I've been a huge buyer of tissues and also hand creams: I've made it a point to wash my hands upteen times a day, to try to prevent germs from spreading. I basically look like a scrub lady but don't really care. My dad is so frail and doing so poorly, and I can't go near him if I get truly sick---so I'm trying to be as careful as possible.
It's been such a tough winter for so many people. I hope you all get through it without any more problems. Best wishes to everyone, from Vee
Wow, VeeJ, I never heard of anyone else with this otitis-from-hell. I did then (and still do) color my hair about every 4-6 weeks. Has that been shown to increase infections? I have heard "rumors" that those of us with lupus should not color their hair, but never really knew why. I actually was not on Prednisone at the time of that infection, I have been on and off of it several times since then. Thankis for all the info, ctjedda (Jo-el)
If you think of the lupus body as fighting the bad "invaders" and then turning on the good guys and killing them off too. This is the way I describe it (or one of the effects of lupus) to they who do not understand. Think of it as your body attacking itself. This is why your immune system acts the way it does.
The first lot of info I gave you was a bit technical, this is in layman's terms.
Last edited by goldenwings; 02-21-2005 at 05:36 AM.
I remember comparing medical histories with the woman I know who'd had otitis. We were both very interested because we'd both had the same rash, the nonscarring annular torso/arm rash seen in the SCLE subset, and neither of us had met anyone else with that rash.
Both of us had decades of seemingly pretty similar medical complaints: severe sinus problems [might that be of big interest?]; GI woes; high fevers with convulsions; migraines; pneumonia; big shoulder and elbow pain; anemia; etc. Our problems weren't "new"---we'd both started young.
Also, we both had processed hair, but she changed hers more often and more dramatically. We both had pierced ears (she had more piercings, though, along the ear pinna), plus both of us had severe allergic reactions to costume jewelry.
She'd been Dx'ed already with SCLE, then later on ANA, Ro autoantibodies and antiphospholipid turned up clearly. She'd tried Plaquenil, then stopped it when she started Prednisone. She was still getting some sun exposure, while I'd quit the first time I found lupus was even a possibility.
Anyway, that's what I remember. We talked these things over a lot. We were both very interested in the comparisons, but we realized that even with all the overlaps and differences we found, we'd not be able to compare, say, genetic makeup!
Did your drs. have any thoughts as to possible causes of otitis? Or did you find anything while browsing?
Anyway, I hope the otitis is in your PAST, for good! Take good care, Vee
I also have had some of the problems you mentioned. As far as the rash goes, I had the initial typical "butterfly" rash, which cleared up with Plaquenil. I also had one horrendous experience of HUGE disc-shaped lesions all over my legs, trunk, and a few on my arms, but that was most likely a result of sun exposure and I thankfully haven't had that since.
As far as infections/illnesses go, I don't seem to get sick any more frequently than most people, but when I get sick, it is generally always more severe. The doctors were clueless about my otitis. They asked me a zillion times if I was on Prednisone (I wasn't at that time), then decided it was simply lupus-related immune issues.
I have SEVERE environmental allergies (not so much to pollen, but the indoor stuff, mainly animals dust, and mold), and take lots of meds (Zyrtec, Advair, Nasonex, and sometimes Prednisone and Benadryl) for that, and I was on allergy shots in high school until I was diagnosed with lupus just after graduation and was advised to stop the shots. However, jewelry is about the only thing I am not allergic to!! I have also had allergic reactions to 2 different brands of hair color.
Speaking of all this, I find it hard to believe that my lupus, Hashimoto's thyroiditis (which was diagnosed at the almost-unheard-of age of 8), severe allergies, and severe infections are not related. My rheumie doesn't want to see the connection, but all of the above are immune-related disorders. My body spends too much time fighting itself and cat dander to be concerned about ear infections and flu!! Does anyone have any info on how all of tihs is connected (and what to do about it!)
I really recommend reading one or more of the hardcovers out there on lupus. The problems you listed---allergies, Hashimoto's thyroid, and infections---are things Dr. Wallace & Dr. Lahita discuss in their tomes on lupus. Yes, these "extra" things happen more often in lupus---it's what lupus is all about, it seems...
As for CAT DANDER, my sister loves her two cats. Alas, she has severe asthma. She refuses to adopt them out, which I understand at some level. But she's taken steps to improve air quality in her house: portable air filters, a dehumidifier in the basement, daily vacuuming and defuzzing furniture and carpets, etc. These methods haven't helped completely, though---you should see my husband wheeze up when he steps into her home. You might also speak to your vet about more ways to reduce/control dander, perhaps, in the home & on the cats themselves.
How long have you taken PLAQUENIL? Most drs. & texts suggest that it can take as long as 4 to 6 months to reach its full potential in your system.
On OTITIS, the main cause I found (browsing) was damp ears, from swimming, etc. Ring any bells?
So is frequent swimmers ear connected at all to this Otitis stuff? I stopped swimming cause I was worried with the clorine and my "wonderful" skin, but when I did swim always swimmers ear. It hurt like *&^%