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01-02-2013, 11:57 AM   #1
Kerry
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
How does my immune system work?

Hi all,
Im 24 weeks pregnant and i have a stinking cold like virus - runny and blocked nose, raspy chest and generally unwell. Ive had a scan this morning and all is fine with bump. I have been to the GP's 3 times over xmas as they wanted to monitor me but said as long as there was no temperature they wouldnt give me antibiotics.

I was due for my last infliximab Monday but they decided not to give it me. I have a cold sore aswell which i havent had in years.

I saw a feotal high risk pregnancy consultant this morning and she said it was right not to have the infliximab and i wont get another now until after baby is here unless theres a problem as im now over 24 weeks. She said that the Aza stops you getting a temperature so theres no point really looking for that when monitoring this virus. Not sure why the GP didnt know that.

Ive had the flu vaccs and it doesnt feel like flu.

So my question might not really fit here, im not sure. But the Infliximab and the Aza and the pregnancy are all suppressing my immune system. So how does my immune system fight a virus like a cold?
Will fighting off the cold make my immune system stronger and then a flare start again?

Just interested to know how it all works really. I havent had any virus's etc since getting crohns and this one does seem to be lingering.
01-02-2013, 12:14 PM   #2
kiny
Senior Member
 
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Your body uses leukocytes, or white blood cells, to protect itself from invaders. One type of leukocyte are lymphocytes which Infliximab supresses, it leaves you vulnerable to infections like viruses.

A cold will not lead to a flare, inflammation in the gut is specific and targeted, a cold won't change this.
01-03-2013, 04:41 AM   #3
Kerry
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
thanks. So the other white blood cells i have will be used to fight off the cold just not any lymphocytes? So im not completely disabled regards fighting infection?

What does that Azathioprine impact - is that another white blood cell type?

As im now off infliximab i assume my lymphocytes will start getting stronger again in the next few weeks and so can fight the cold. but maybe start the crohns again.

The docs arent even sure this is a cold now. they say some viruses. I have a cold like one, a chesty one, now i have 2 cold sores and im so bunged up even after nearly 2 weeks. I know the pregnancy has supressed my immune system too but its just a little frightening not feeling your getting better and not understanding how it works.
01-03-2013, 08:41 AM   #4
kiny
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Join Date: Apr 2011
thanks. So the other white blood cells i have will be used to fight off the cold just not any lymphocytes? So im not completely disabled regards fighting infection?
Don't think it works like that, leukocytes have specific actions that are not interchangeable.

Infliximab binds to TNF-alpha and causes apoptosis, or cell death, of lymphocytes, which leaves you vulnerable to infections.

But it doesn't bind to all lymphocytes, you are not completely immune compromised, once you go off infliximab lymphocytes count should recover but it does take a long time, not a few weeks. While infliximab only has a half-life of around 2 weeks, it takes much longer for lymphocytes to recover.

There is no compensation or changes in behavior of other leukocytes to compensate for this effect I'm aware of.


What likely happens is that any infection will be cleared much slower for people who are on infliximab, which results in in more viral infections. The dangers of infliximab is if a virus or cancerous cell is spreading too fast and the compromised immune system is unable to deal with this. But normal viruses like common colds should resolve itself rather quickly especially after the immune system starts to recover gradually when infliximab is discontinued.

Last edited by kiny; 01-03-2013 at 09:12 AM.
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