Immune system

Hello, I always thought that because we have MS our immune system is weaker than normal healthy people, however after having flu and sinisitus mid December and some other awful virus now, I did some research and that doesn’t seem to be the case. Should our immune systems just be normal and MS doesn’t make a difference to This? I feel rotten, glands up, horrific sore throat and headache and aching all over! Does anyone else pick things up as easily as this?

I always thought our immune system was too good and that is why we have MS because our immunity is attacking our central nervous system. I never seem to get poorly. Can’t remember the last time I got a cold. Please tell me if I’m wrong. Hope you feel better very soon. Jane X

You’ll find all info about MS from various leaflets. On the home page here, the “What is MS” booklet gives accurate details.

Very basically, for people without MS, their immune system fights any infection. For MS sufferers, if we catch an infection, our immune system starts to attack itself. It can cause permanent damage to the nerve endings. Ultimately, we are vulnerable and need to prevent infection where we can.

The phrase I picked up on quite early was the term ‘compromised immune system’ - so it does work but a little too well at times, so it’s why we don’t want to pump it up with echinaea

Sonia x

My neuro answered my question about immune system being compromised… he said it’s quite the opposite. Our immune system works well…, too well I fact. When our immune systems are attacked our antibodies go off and do their work. As well as seeing off the baddies they attack our own system thus causing a relapse/exacerbation

Tilly x

Are you taking a DMD, because I thought they were immunosuppressive and might be a factor.

1 Like

I don’t think all DMDs are immunosuppressive. But some are.

The mechanism (as far as I understand it) for some, eg Tecfidera, is to deliberately deplete white blood cells in particular lymphocytes, initially. They should then bounce back to low normal levels. But because they should be somewhere within the ‘normal’ range, the immune system is not strictly speaking, suppressed.

Some on the other hand are immunosuppressive, such as Cyclophosphamide or Mitoxantrone (not much used now), these are essentially chemotherapy drugs, so they completely suppress the immune system, leading the body open to infection. And are therefore only used rarely.

In any autoimmune condition, the immune system is wrongly seeing normal tissue as a foreign invader so attacks it. In the case of MS, it’s the myelin that is attacked by our own immune system.

So in general we have a relatively healthy (!) immune system, it’s just that certain parts of it don’t just defend against alien invaders (ie infections and viruses), but our own healthy tissue.

This is my (unscientific) understanding anyway.


This sounds just like how my latest bout of the lurgi started. So far it has lasted three weeks. I can only recommend to anyone to stock up on antiseptic throat sweets to ease any sore throat to you may be unfortunate to have. Lockets ,tunes etc do not ease the stabbing pain of the sore throat.

Also start taking some vitamin C tablets these will help to ward off anything to nasty.

Oh and also, get yourself some alcohol hand wash or simillar and use everytime you come into contact with door handles, etc in the outside world.

I am on Tecfidera so have a low lymphocite count, I don’t normally get bugs and always have the flu jab every year. This beast of a bug has managed to get through my differences though somehow.

Thank you all for your comments. It’s so confusing and with my brain fog these things go right over my head!!! I’VE been to the docs today and it’s 'just’a viral infection this time. Just frustrated after having sinniusitus and the flu only a couple of weeks ago! First time I’ve had any colds or flus in a good couple of years and I’m worried that it will trigger a relapse or exacerbation. This disease is so frustrating!!!

Hi Sonia, I regularly catch colds and viruses and many people have suggested that I should take enchinaea tablets. Is this a bad idea?

but is m.s. an auto-immune disease? ‘Auto-immunity’ is a term used for those diseases where no causative agent e.g. virus can be identified.

MS is definitely an auto-immune disease. It’s your own immune system attacking your own cells.

Bloody stupid of it if you ask me!


My immune system is thick as sh*t!