People don't understand when I reel back in horror if they cough or sneeze near me, but when you have lupus, you are at increased risk for all kinds of infections. There are two reasons for this:
Lupus can make infections occur more often: the way lupus affects the immune system can sometimes limit the body’s ability to fight off foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses.
Lupus patients often take immunosuppressive medicines to control their lupus. These drugs limit the ability of the body’s immune system to respond, and can leave a person more open to infection.
We may start off with a simple cold but it can then move to other organs such as the lungs. I know I sometimes get very wheezy when I have colds, so a simple infection may become more serious in a lupus patient. Of course the other problem is that you may start with a cold, but that then causes a lupus flare and you have a double whammy!
Hospitals/GP surgeries etc are places I really want to avoid, as bugs are obviously rife there. If you're in hospital, sorry but it's better I don't visit you as it's very likely a random bug will find me. I’m not being horrible or uncaring, I’m just ensuring that I don’t get very sick. I have had people get annoyed with me about this, but that does make you wonder why they’re not looking out for us and why they can’t understand how serious it can be for us.
I used to get everything going when I worked in the Lupus Unit, that combined with the fact I commuted daily, jammed in overcrowded tubes on the Central Line with no escape, was a recipe for disaster. Most of the Lupus Unit staff got the Norovirus one year when a patient brought it into the unit, I had no idea what was wrong with me at first and literally thought I was dying! The speed it rampaged round all the staff was incredible, so it was a pretty forgone conclusion that would find me too.
I’m sure some people think I'm overreacting and even being a bit hysterical, but I know that if there's any bug about there's a good chance I will get it and as you know it will attack us in a far worse fashion than the average person.
We can't always avoid places where there are germs and I recently had some hospital appointments. On an appointment recently the doctor apologised saying she had a cold, guess who then had a heavy cold a couple of days later? What can I say, germs just love me!
The best thing we can do is avoid the source of germs, as I've already mentioned, but you can't always do that. so hygiene is important.
Wash your hands often or use hand sanitising gel.
Don't touch your face as that will spread the germs.
Keep objects such as telephones, computer keyboards etc clean as they can be a real source of germs.
Get a flu shot, we recommend everyone does that annually.
Don’t be embarrassed about becoming a germaphobe, you have to protect yourself as much as possible and if people don’t understand that, too bad.
Why would someone come bearing germs that will very likely knock us off our feet and perhaps into hospital and show us no courtesy whatsoever? With the huge number of ways to contact people now, that don’t include face to face, you can phone/text whatever but please be considerate and don’t come near us until you’re better.
I think the Japanese are pretty smart wearing masks, I wish someone would make them a fashion trend here then we could all wear them too!