/ Viruses that appear out of the blue
Brace yourselves for confused ramblings from a non-scientific type...
Last week I spent most of the week in bed with a virus - it started with a headache on the Sunday evening, by Monday evening I was shivering under many layers and wearing a hat, as the week went on I kept going super hot then super cold, was running a fever, started throwing up halfway through the week, was struggling to eat or drink anything at all. By the time I went to the doctor's (in my pyjamas, because I'm that glamorous) on Friday afternoon I'd lost almost 4kg. The doctor was stumped as to what was going on as it looked like a lot of flu symptoms (I've had 'wouldn't get out of bed for £1000 flu' before, and this felt worse - I think I'd have asked to be left where I was if the house was burning down... but this time there were no respiratory symptoms) but he wanted to check for pyelonephritis. I started to get better over the weekend, so it wasn't the latter, but I'm still feeling pretty wrung out now, and a bit shaken up by the severity of it.
What I was wondering about, and which I'm sure you scientific types (both proper and armchair) will know about, is this- where do viruses like this spring from? A friend mentioned one other person she knew of in my town who'd had something similar, and a couple of friends elsewhere in the country know of people who've had something similar. Something this horrible seems like the sort of thing you'd hear about 'going round' within an area.
I had something similar with an awful back ache and headache and couldn't leave bed for a week, which I think was put down to viral meningitis... About 7 years ago I think... Could have been any viral infection though... It's all a bit hazy now, as I was so ill that I think I prefer to forget it.
We live in a vast soup of viruses and bacteria, which are constantly changing. Your own immune system relies on generating antibodies by hyper mutation to try and counter the infinite immunological threats potentially on offer. When infected by something new, your body responds by developing specific antibodies to this new threat and then it’s just a case of an arms race, can the immune system outnumber the viral threat.
So in short, no one knows and also it could actually be your own immune system not having acquired protection through earlier similar infections or you are just run down and caught off guard.
Several of my projects are to develop stable viral seed banks containing human genes for gene therapy. Getting a consistent and stable viral manufacturing process is perhaps one of the biggest drug manufacturing challenges we know of.
> We live in a vast soup of viruses and bacteria, which are constantly changing. Your own immune system relies on generating antibodies by hyper mutation to try and counter the infinite immunological threats potentially on offer. When infected by something new, your body responds by developing specific antibodies to this new threat and then it’s just a case of an arms race, can the immune system outnumber the viral threat.
Nice answer. Was trying to think how to put it. 'a vast soup' indeed
Thank you for this - that makes sense. In my case I think I was just run down. So when something like a new strain of flu sweeps through a population, is that to do with the population not having antibodies readily available to fight the new virus?
My pigeon immunological explanation (degree level but a very long time ago!) is that your immune system acquires immunity through being exposed to more and more infections throughout your life. I believe your immune system can recognise similar infectious material based on past infections due to shared parts of the infectious material. Every now and then something comes along that we have never been exposed to in any way before and then it’s an arms race of whether our body can create an immune response. Good news is that once you get over these new infections the antibodies and the cells responsible for producing them get stored and become part of your long term immunity. This is why things like the Spanish flu killed millions of young people who had not lived long enough to get exposed to enough similar flu’s to fight it off in time. It also explains why globalisation and the movement of people from very far removed places to densely populated places represent the biggest threat to the human species, all it takes is a new bird or swine flu somewhere remote, that person with a fever to get on a long haul flight to London and it’s zombie apocalypse.
I'm off to the doctor this afternoon because cold-like symptoms have been coming and going since end of Feb. Nothing debilitating, just runny nose, weird throat feeling, chesty cough, ears blocked when blowing my nose etc.. Time to get it checked out.
I heard something about this on the wonderful BBC Radio 4 a few weeks ago; there's some fascinating stuff on the radio during daytime. Apparently viruses in each hemisphere lag approximately six months behind viruses in the other as winter moves from north to south and during the winter, immunologists are developing vaccines for the current version of the 'flu virus ready to be shipped to the opposite hemisphere in time for their winter. So right now immunologists in the south are just putting the finishing touches to next winter's European flu vaccination. They get it right most of the time but do get caught out by versions of viruses, which swop hemispheres early thanks to air travel and manage to infect enough people to gain critical mass.
i.m.e. sometimes rest is needed before you can get rid of some things. Good idea to check with the doctor when it's been going on too long.
Well, I started off with a head cold, which rapidly developed into the dreaded manflu but I've valiantly battled through it, coming out the other side now with a rather nasty chest infection
Now, if only I could get rid of this pesky chest infection.
Anyway, glad you are getting better, pull yourself together and get some chicken soup down you, then a curry for dinner tonight followed by a hot toddy before bed and you will be right as rain in no time.
I'm back at my desk (though at home - not venturing near the university and all its' plague-ridden students just yet!). The worst of it had passed by Sunday evening.
one thing I wonder about is whether these things can come about as a result of inadvertent contact, direct or indirect (eg via money) with one of the many people who do not consider hand hygiene to matter at all.
> it’s an arms race of whether our body can create an immune response.
Also a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, in which case a lot of the symptoms are caused by a massive immune overreaction (as in the case of 1919 'flu). That's another factor in why the mortality rate was highest in younger, otherwise healthy people; they had the strongest immune systems.
Many sympathies. A word of warning, just so's you're prepared; this one takes a good while to properly get over. My wife had something very similar to what you've enjoyed back at the start of March and she's only just properly recovered now, two months on. A friend of ours also had it back in February and she's grumbling about her sense of taste still not having resumed its previous settings. So far as you're able, give yourself some time to properly convalesce; you're probably going to need it.
It is, as they say, a bit of a rum do. Thankfully I, with an immune system that is at best wonky, have managed to avoid it completely; but before you try to work up enough energy to loathe me, I had what may have been the start of this bug last August when I went from feeling normal to wrapped under every warm thing I was able to grab, shivering with scary violence, in about fifteen minutes and was unable to walk without assistance for the next day. That took some getting over too.
Students. Schools and colleges and universities are like germ factories. Get well soon. Don't overdo things or return to work before you are fully better.
I've managed to reduce colds to one or two a year by adopting a few simple precautions:
Wash hands before sitting down to work at my desk.
Wash hands immediately on entering the house or hotel room.
Train myself not to rub my eyes or pick my nose.
Gargle 3 x daily with Corsodyl the moment I get any soreness at the back of the nose. It really does work.
I've gone one better and, since I started freelancing six years ago, I think I've had three colds. It's other people - they're best avoided.
I'm deliberately staying away from university - consequently missing a really interesting event this afternoon, which is frustrating, but sharing air with a lecture theatre full of people doesn't seem like a good idea. 'Fortunately' I have a huge stack of work to do, which is better done at home.
Oh blimey - two months doesn't sound good! I was more thinking of a couple of weeks! Fortunately I don't have any grand backpacking trips (or similar) planned for this summer.
> I've gone one better and, since I started freelancing six years ago, I think I've had three colds. It's other people - they're best avoided.
Indeed, I found the same when I was going through a trough one winter and not going out much and stayed cold free. Your virus sounds like a really grim one, like it could leave the heart and things slightly weaker. I think I've read about people keeling over by exercising too soon after being ill. A shit load of rest and sleep and good eating seems to get me healthy again sooner.
Any excuse for good eating is nice.
> Your virus sounds like a really grim one, like it could leave the heart and things slightly weaker. I think I've read about people keeling over by exercising too soon after being ill.
A couple of weeks ago my husband had the 24hr vomiting bug that's been going round our way - very uncharacteristically as he's never ill. He then went to do an endurance bike race that weekend, and ended up with some weird atrial fibrillation thing going on with his heart. He's super-fit but even he took it as as a sign - he's had it all checked out properly since. I think it's easy to forget, if one's a fundamentally fit and active person, that illnesses can sometimes have a bigger impact than that which is immediately visible.
Fascinating thread. I caught something in Feb which started with the same symptoms them developed into a nasty chest infection. At one point l was wearing jeans, three layers, a hat and a fully insulated winter coat, in front of the roaring fire. And still couldn't get warm. 8 to 10 weeks to properly clear the phlegm and coughing
Good lord, I'm glad he's okay.
Yep - because of the stuff he does, he didn't want to wait six months to see a heart consultant so he paid an alarming amount to get it checked out privately this week, and hurrah, everything looks good; the consultant said he wished everyone's heart looked like my husband's. A relief all round.
On the other hand, I've just spoken to the doctor for test results from samples taken last week, and it turns out I can't get away with not taking antibiotics as I do have something skulking. Blurgh.
That sounds like classic flu!
I had a three week thing which involved being feverish and crackly coughing a lot, and started to wonder if I had a chest infection, and rang the doc's to make an appointment and my chest cleared shortly before the day of the appointment. A friend and a relative both observed that it's a classic thing to have happen.
I should have rung the doctor's a week earlier and recovered then instead...
Those symptoms exactly describe a severe bout of food poisoning (sea food) I had in Spain a couple of years back,
I've hesitated to post on here simply because my symptoms appear so random.
About 5 or 6 weeks ago I had a 24 hour fever, no other associated symptoms. Over the next week I started developing aches and pains in connective tissues, main ones presenting as pulled shoulders, double groin strain, and weirdly, a lot of pain around my sternum along with night sweats. Finally went to see my GP week before last who sent me for blood tests....white blood cell count well up indicating an infection. Just finished a course of antibiotics to no discernible effect.
I'm now in a bit of a catch 22 as the resulting lack of exercise has meant a long term back problem has flared up. Anyone had similar? Anyone got any ideas at all?
> Anyone got any ideas at all?
One, though I hesitate to mention it because I know nothing about medicine, I don't think it's very likely and I wouldn't want to worry you. But... might you have been bitten by a tick (it would be a bit early in the year wouldn't it)? Worth getting tested for Lyme disease?
Thanks for the reply but timings wise and where I've been, a tick bite would be unlikely.
Thought it was unlikely anyway, but nevertheless glad to hear it. Whatever it is, I hope you're on the road to recovery soon..
> Gargle 3 x daily with Corsodyl the moment I get any soreness at the back of the nose. It really does work.
An antibacterial mouthwash will not help you against viral infection. The next best thing from a healthy immune system is a healthy gut. The gut pretty much starts with your mouth.
On the flip side modern science is proving more and more that heart/cardiovascular issues are linked to poor dental hygiene.
raw garlic, chewed in the mouth and kept in there as long as you can bear is, perhaps with a a little yoghourt, much better than mouthwash, 2 or three times a day, but not as a breath cosmetic!
interestingly I remember my grandmother telling me back in the 1960s of a tragic story in the local paper of a very young policeman dying from a mouth infection after a visit to the dentist, the infection causing heart problems that killed him. As a kid it surprised me that the two were linked but I've always remembered it.
It says on the label that the active, chlorhexidine digluconate, is effective against bacteria and viruses. It certainly clears up sore throats as well as zits and cuts.
> It says on the label that the active, chlorhexidine (CH) digluconate, is effective against bacteria and viruses. It certainly clears up sore throats as well as zits and cuts.
Kudos due! I had to read into this and it does indeed work against some viruses, notably those with an envelope which the CH attacks which includes influenza strains. Viruses like adenovirida (common cold) and polio where not affected by CH.
> I've managed to reduce colds to one or two a year by adopting a few simple precautions:
> Wash hands before sitting down to work at my desk.
> Wash hands immediately on entering the house or hotel room.
> Train myself not to rub my eyes or pick my nose.
> Gargle 3 x daily with Corsodyl the moment I get any soreness at the back of the nose. It really does work.
Lemon juice seems helpful too.
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