Hyper-immune = over active immune system
Hypo-immune = under active immune system
Before I was ill with M.E, it was a running joke in our family that I was alway poorly with a cold or sore throat or something! I apparently had a runny nose for most of my life. Lovely.
Now that is not the case. I have gone from being hypo-immune, to being hyper-immune. In the time I have been ill with M.E I have had one stomach bug and maybe two colds. This is because my immune system is now always on the very highest alert.
For many of my poorly friends it is the opposite. They catch any bug or virus going because their immune system has dropped it’s defences almost completely.
When you are so unwell with a condition like M.E the last thing you need is a cough or cold or any kind of bug that will inevitably wipe you out even more. For me, the fact that my immune system is always on alert and on the defensive is exhausting in itself.
When I did get a cold I was left even more wiped out than usual because my body was using its energy to fight off the infection. I ended up back in bed for at least some of the time I had the cold.
Stomach bugs and vomiting are even worse. Think of all the muscles you use involuntarily when you throw up…for an M.E sufferer those muscles are already incredibly weak, and so to be using them when you vomit (sorry this is gross isn’t it?) leaves you battered and bruised for a very long time afterwards. For me, it was weeks. For others it may be more or less. I have never felt as poorly as I did when I had that stomach bug. I have never been as weak as that either. It was absolute hell.
But the fact that I caught that stomach bug is actually a ‘good’ sign. My immune system is beginning to correct itself and is lowering its level of alert. It is proof that my efforts to retrain my brain are slowly, but surely, working. According to the CFS/ME clinic it is my attempts at avoiding panic and always trying to remain calm during moments of involuntary shock, for example when something makes me jump, that are helping to rectify the hyper immunity.