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Thread: Mysterious Immunity?

  1. #1

    Default Mysterious Immunity?

    I'm curious if anyone has had an experience similar to this.

    For some years now, I've noticed anecdotally that it is very rare for me to fall ill with colds or flu. I count the time between colds and bouts of flu in years, although I never bother with flu shots. The last two colds I had were about 8 years apart, and the last two bouts of flu were about 14 years apart. The phenomenon has become more apparent since I moved in with room mates a few months back. Shortly after my arrival, my room mates "traded colds" with one another, both getting sick twice. Both colds missed me. More recently, one of my roomies caught a cold from the server at a restaurant we visited together (though both of us were exposed, of course). The other roomie caught it from her, and it then proceeded to tear through her entire family (who live nearby). Meanwhile, while she was acutely ill, the roomie and I made no attempt to keep distance from one another, and in fact continued sharing a vaporizer the entire time… sharing the same mouthpiece and inhaling deeply. And yet, still, the virus just bounced off…

    I have been unable to pinpoint any particular reason why this should be. I have actually seen an immunologist before due to other quirks of my immune system. It turns out I have fairly severe but uncommon allergies (e.g. parsnips can cause anaphylaxis but things like peanuts and shellfish are fine), and the immunologist mentioned that I was one of his "interesting" clients. Among his findings were that my system reacts minimally (almost not at all, in fact) to histamine, which explains why histamine blockers such as Claritin have historically been entirely ineffective at treating my more common seasonal allergies (as a teen I wondered aloud if they were relying on placebo effect, because they seemed to do absolutely nothing). Instead my immune responses appear to be almost exclusively mediated by leukotrienes. I don't know if this helps to explain my resistance to respiratory infections or if it's just yet another unrelated quirk — my background in medicine is a bit spotty.

    Does anyone have any insights or similar experiences? How unusual is it to miss cold after cold despite significant exposure?

  2. #2

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    I have a similar experience but it is not unusual.



    There are approximately 200 viruses that can cause a common cold (particularly rhino- and coronaviruses). When you get infected by one of these, you first get sick and then you become immune. So you usually do not catch that one again. In childhood, all viruses that we encounter are 'new' so we get ill very often. Later in life, the chances increase that you encounter a virus that your immune system has already 'seen' before so you do not get ill anymore.

    By the way: the flu is something completely different from the common cold. You get much less often infected with the flu than with the common cold. It is harder to become immune to the flu because the virus often changes so it is not recognized by your immune system. And immunity does not last as long as against the cold. However, most of the time when we think we have 'the flu', it is actually a cold or some other ordinary virus.

    The reason that your room mates got sick and you didn't is probably that you were immune and your room mates were not. Or they did not catch a common cold but something completely different, like food poisoning. No way to tell though, most of the time we do not know the exact cause of our illness.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Makubird View Post
    I have a similar experience but it is not unusual.



    There are approximately 200 viruses that can cause a common cold (particularly rhino- and coronaviruses). When you get infected by one of these, you first get sick and then you become immune. So you usually do not catch that one again. In childhood, all viruses that we encounter are 'new' so we get ill very often. Later in life, the chances increase that you encounter a virus that your immune system has already 'seen' before so you do not get ill anymore.

    By the way: the flu is something completely different from the common cold. You get much less often infected with the flu than with the common cold. It is harder to become immune to the flu because the virus often changes so it is not recognized by your immune system. And immunity does not last as long as against the cold. However, most of the time when we think we have 'the flu', it is actually a cold or some other ordinary virus.

    The reason that your room mates got sick and you didn't is probably that you were immune and your room mates were not. Or they did not catch a common cold but something completely different, like food poisoning. No way to tell though, most of the time we do not know the exact cause of our illness.
    It is possible that I've already encountered far more cold viruses than my room mates have, but it would be a bit surprising since we are the same age, and I have never worked in a capacity that would be likely to increase my exposure (e.g. health care, education, etc). And I don't recall being sick terribly often at any point in the past.

    Another interesting sidenote: research suggests that some 77% of influenza infections are asymptomatic, though to my knowledge no study has ever tracked the frequency with which infections are asymptomatic in a specific individual — in other words, we don't know yet the extent to which the same 77% of people experience asymptomatic flu, or if it's an equal roll of the dice for everyone each time.

    Also, as a rule food poisoning is easy to distinguish from a cold: food poisoning typically involves gastrointestinal symptoms while a cold is respiratory.

  4. #4

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    Look at weird immunity over the long term view " it has kept us alive" HIV was once a death sentence, anti retroviral medication can let an HIV patient die of old age , in the search for a cure scientist turned to I believe it was a Scottish town who during the bubonic plague years declared nobody in nobody out .

    Almost everyone in that town was a direct descendant of someone who survived the plague , in studying there blood they all shared an intresting trait the cells in there body were missing a single protein receptor which made them immune to all kinds of evil stuff , and to test out the theory outside of the lab they asked for 2000 volunteers to be injected with HIV and normally the virus gets into all the cells and infinitely expands hundreds of millions of times, in these volunteers within a week there was no detectable trace of the VIrus ,because this misding protien was kind of like a key for a lock , no key no access to the cells life goes on and the virus is defeated.

    By " intresting " patient, you may very well be one of these human "virus destroyers" , now of course the retro virals were the priority, we were looking to stop HIV but i am willing to bet there will be other bleeding edge scientific advances down the road from the same research ,and lest we not also mention Cancer it's not recognized in the body by the immune system as being bad , but you can take a genticly modified version of polio, or HIV introduce it into a tumor and then the immune system targets it and kills it , glioblastoma is a brain cancer that has been defeated using these virus ,when ordinarily with chemo and radiation very few people survive,but we have people who have been cured and everyday are earning there stripes as long term survivors .

    So I tried to be fair to the viruses and show that they can both be annoying and deadly as well as curative and restorative, ultimately only time will tell how much good or bad anything has ,but one thing life has shown to be not an ancient wisdom just a fact of life "all things in moderation" .

    I have only had the flu once or twice over the years even though i cant be inoculated ,and i have avoided it many times when my aide had it ( he is a single father of four "petri dishes" called school kids) .Although with that said i am still unwilling to venture up to the local mall and play "health roulette" with a couple of thousand people who may have been to stupid to stay home, or who dont know they have it but havent started active symptoms( do you feel lucky punk?, no sir!) ,I am not a guy who likes to push my luck, intentionally.

    I have seasonal allergies and not much luck luck with anti histamines so my doctor tried me on Monteleukast ( Singular) which is a drug for asthma but has shown to be magic for allergies ( I am allergic to cats, grass, trees, dust, yet I don't react to my aide or my girlfriend who both have multiple cats ).

    Sent from my SM-T810 using Tapatalk

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphyre View Post
    Also, as a rule food poisoning is easy to distinguish from a cold: food poisoning typically involves gastrointestinal symptoms while a cold is respiratory.
    Sure, but you didn't mention any of the symptoms that your room mates had. And believe me, you would be surprised how many people can not tell the difference.

    I meant to say that it might have been some other infection with a different route of transmission. Anyway, i think it is most likely that you were lucky or that you have had the infection before.

  6. #6

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    Wow, everyone here seems to know their medical science!

    I'm a bit like that too..I get sicker more often than that, but indeed, I count my flu incidents in years, not months or seasons. Last time I had the flu was 4 years ago, and it only lasted one (very feverish) night. I woke up next morning shaky and weak but without any symptoms. Before the last instance, it must have been another 3 years before that since my previous flu. ''Cold season'' flies right past me even with a decent amount of exposure from my workplace(s).

    I'm not quite as knowledgeable as some people obviously are here, but do you all think it's something that could be inherited, on a genetic level? Both my parents also rarely get sick (my father hasn't had the flu for 20 years!). Two people and their offspring is not much by way of evidence, but I think there might be something (?). Think about your own parents, are they too ''immune''?

    Either way, it's good to be among the sick-resistant crowd

  7. #7

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    I tend not to get sick very often, but I'm not sure if its immune system or personal habits, ie, I wash my hands a lot and I'm not very touchy-feely.

    Of course Mrs. Maxx works in a school. I'm sure every bug known to man follows her home, so maybe it is the immune system.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maybeshewill View Post
    Wow, everyone here seems to know their medical science!

    I'm a bit like that too..I get sicker more often than that, but indeed, I count my flu incidents in years, not months or seasons. Last time I had the flu was 4 years ago, and it only lasted one (very feverish) night. I woke up next morning shaky and weak but without any symptoms. Before the last instance, it must have been another 3 years before that since my previous flu. ''Cold season'' flies right past me even with a decent amount of exposure from my workplace(s).

    I'm not quite as knowledgeable as some people obviously are here, but do you all think it's something that could be inherited, on a genetic level? Both my parents also rarely get sick (my father hasn't had the flu for 20 years!). Two people and their offspring is not much by way of evidence, but I think there might be something (?). Think about your own parents, are they too ''immune''?

    Either way, it's good to be among the sick-resistant crowd
    There is more stuff with biologic/genetic components than most people can fathom. Take me as an example I have three rare disease that hung around lurking in body to limit late 30's I was a "normal" average guy , very physically active both at work and at play, then something in the environment that i came into contact with activated these hidden diseases, and i was screwed but there a whole host of diseases that they know are geneticaly based but have an unknown enviromental trigger. Even some cancers are thought to be that way . Every since we decoded the human genome, there are rare diseases that they are finding more and more combinations of different faults in genes that result in the same disease in different in people , disease they previously believed was caused by one unique genetic mutation are being rethought because other people with the same disease are having it from completely different mutations , which is leaving doctors wondering is it the "same" disease or have we been wrong for years , do we need to breakout the disease into sub disease based on the person's actual mutations rather than lumping them into the same category, because not every treatment is going to work on disease a when it's caused by mutation c .

    Sent from my SM-T810 using Tapatalk

  9. #9

    Default Here we go again…

    The roomie with whom I share a vaporizer has caught yet another cold. This was two days ago, now. As for me… so far, so good…

    If the other roomie catches this one, and I don't, that will make four in a row. o.o

  10. #10

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    I just got over the flu. To be honest I'm not sure when the last time I've been that sick. I've had days i don't feel 100% but never to the point i stay home thinking I'll give it to someone else. Even my wife of 9 years said"I'm not sure what to do when your sick. It doesn't really happen" lol

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