When your immune system is on point, it’s a lifesaver. But as good as it may be, it’s not perfect. Sometimes, this group of special cells, tissues, and organs doesn’t act the way it should.
If it kicks into action too often, you may get a condition like allergies, asthma, or eczema. Or if your immune system starts to attack your body instead of safeguarding it, you could have an autoimmune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes.
At least 80 illnesses are caused by immune system problems. They can all cause inflammation. But do you know the other warning signs?
Keep in mind that these possible clues can happen for many other reasons. To figure out what’s going on with your health, you’ll want to see your doctor.
1. Cold Hands
If your blood vessels are inflamed, it can be harder for your fingers, toes, ears, and nose to keep warm. The skin in these areas may turn white, then blue, when you’re exposed to the cold. Once blood flow returns, the skin may then turn red.
Doctors call this “Raynaud’s phenomenon.” Immune system problems can cause it, but so can other things, including smoking, some prescription drugs, and conditions that affect your arteries.
2. Bathroom Problems
Diarrhea that lasts more than 2 to 4 weeks can be a warning sign that your immune system is harming the lining of your small intestine or digestive tract.
Constipation is a concern, too. If your bowel movements are hard to pass, very firm, or look like they’re made up of small rabbit pellets, your immune system may be forcing your intestine to slow down. Other possible causes include bacteria, viruses, and other health conditions.
3. Dry Eyes
If you have an autoimmune disorder, that means your immune system attacks your body instead of defending it. Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are two examples.
Many people who have an autoimmune disorder find that they have dry eyes. You might feel a sandy, gritty feeling like something is in your eye. Or you may notice pain, redness, a stringy discharge, or blurred vision. Some people find they can’t cry even when they’re upset.
Feeling extremely tired, like you do when you have the flu, could mean something’s going on with your body’s defenses. Sleep is unlikely to help. Your joints or muscles can ache, too. Again, there could be many other reasons why you feel this way.
5. Mild Fever
If you’re running a higher temperature than normal, it could be that your immune system is starting to overwork. That can happen due to an oncoming infection or because you're starting to have a flare of an autoimmune condition.
In some cases, headaches can be related to the immune system. For example, it could be vasculitis, which is inflammation of a blood vessel caused by an infection or autoimmune disease.
Your skin is your body’s first barrier against germs. How it looks and feels can reflect how well your immune system is doing its job.
Itchy, dry, red skin is a common symptom of inflammation. So is a rash that is painful or doesn’t clear up. People with lupus often get a butterfly-shaped rash across their nose and cheeks.
8. Joints Ache
When the lining inside your joints becomes inflamed, the area around them is tender to the touch. It might also be stiff or swollen, and it can happen with more than one joint. You may notice that it’s worst in the morning.
9. Patchy Hair Loss
Sometimes the immune system attacks hair follicles. If you lose hair on your scalp, face, or other parts of your body, you could have a condition called alopecia areata. Strands or clumps of hair coming out can also be a symptom of lupus.
10. Repeated Infections
If you need to take antibiotics more than twice a year (four times for children), your body may not be able to attack germs well on its own.
Other red flags: Chronic sinus infections, being sick with more than four ear infections in a year (for anyone over the age of 4), or having pneumonia more than once.
11. Sensitive to Sun
People with an autoimmune disorder sometimes have an allergic reaction to ultraviolet (UV) rays called photodermatitis. You may get blisters, a rash, or scaly patches after being in the sun. Or you may get chills, a headache, or nausea.
12. Tingling or Numbness in Your Hands and Feet
It can be completely innocent. But in some cases it can mean that your body is attacking nerves that send signals to your muscles. People who have Guillain-Barre syndrome, for instance, may have numbness that starts in their legs then moves up to their arms and chest.
Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy has symptoms similar to the demyelinating form of GBS, (called acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, or AIDP), but while GBS lasts two weeks to 30 days. CIPD lasts much longer.
13. Trouble Swallowing
If you have a tough time getting food down, your esophagus (the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach) could be swollen or too weak to work well. Some people feel like food is stuck in their throat or chest. Others gag or choke when they swallow. One of the possible causes can be a problem with your immune system.
14. Unexplained Weight Change
You find yourself gaining extra pounds even though your eating habits and workouts haven’t changed. Or the number on your scale may drop for no clear reason. It's possible this is because of damage to your thyroid gland from an autoimmune disease.
15. White Patches
Sometimes your immune system decides to fight the skin’s pigment-making cells, called melanocytes. If so, you’ll start to see white patches of skin on your body.
16. Yellowing of Your Skin or Eyes
Called jaundice, it may mean that your immune system is attacking and destroying healthy liver cells. That can lead to a condition called autoimmune hepatitis.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on August 05, 2016
University of Rochester Medical Center, “Disorders of the Immune System.”
Office on Women’s Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, “Autoimmune Diseases Fact Sheet.”
American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, “Recurrent Infections May Signal Immunodeficiencies.”
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, “Autoimmune Diseases.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Hygiene-Related Diseases: Diarrhea.”
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “Vasculitis Syndromes of the Central and Peripheral Nervous Symptoms Fact Sheet.”
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Pathology, “Autoimmune Disease Research Center: Frequently Asked Questions.”
The Johns Hopkins Lupus Center, “Signs, Symptoms and Co-occuring Conditions.”
University of Washington Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, “Fatigue.”
National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association, “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.”
National Institutes of Health, “Red Itchy Rash? Get the Skinny on Dermatitis.”
World Allergy Organization, “Diagnostic Approach to the Adult With Suspected Immune Deficiency.”
University of Maryland Medical Center, “Photodermatitis.”
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, “Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS.)”
University of Florida Health, “Raynaud’s Phenomenon.”
University of Michigan Health System, “Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia.)”
The IBS Treatment Center, “Constipation.”
National Eye Institute, “Facts About Dry Eye.”
NIH News in Health: “Dry Eyes and Mouth?” March 2012.
Review of Optometry, “When Autoimmune Disease Initiates Dry Eye.”
Lupus Research Institute, “Lupus and Your Skin.”
Arthritis Foundation, “Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms.”
© 2016 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
There were leaks and a lot of mold in this church. As in many churches, there were members with medical challenges and concerns about the health of the members that could be effected by the mold.
Nobody had looked to see WHY the roof leaked before we went there.
The focus was on the fact that the walls and ceiling were wet and mold had “found sanctuary” growing in the church. We don’t want mold growing where it can make people ill.
The fact that the blocked downspout is causing the roof leak is very important. If we ignore why mold is growing, the universal plan will take over and we will have mold growing again after treatment. Anywhere on earth where there is food and water, something will grow. We ran an experiment in this building and that “something” in this instance is mold growing on walls and ceilings.
The bottom line is to insist that your mold professional take the time to identify the underlying cause of mold and suggest solutions. Testing for the amount and type of mold is important in that investigation. Proper and professional Interpreting of the results can help identify the origins, underlying conditions, hidden sources and extent of the mold.
When we recommend mold remediation, safety and preventing the return of mold are very important. (Envirospect doe not do remediation......to avoid conflict of interest as a testing, assessment and consulting company)
Understanding and correcting the cause of mold growth should be a part of the remediation process.
In that light, we become concerned about the water source that elevates the humidity, that makes the wood damp, and then the mold to grow. (Sounds like the nursery rhyme about the “House That Jack Built.” I will put a section of that ditty at the end of the blog…so you don’t scratch your head too much trying to remember that reference)
So….back to mold …… In the picture, you can see that a leak came from the white pipe. Below the white pipe is a brown muck. That brown muck is coming from the pipe that takes sewage from the commode to the outside sewer. (I am trying to paint the mental image of raw sewage on the basement floor and maintain good taste)
The contamination from mold is also a sewage contamination in this instance. The hazard is that breathing in dust from the sewage can be a source of serious illness and disease. If this muck is swept with a broom or sweeper with a bag, the small viruses, bacteria and other contaminants become airborne. This is where a professional need to recognize that the muck is contaminated. It needs disinfected, contained and all of the contaminated particles including the very small organisms need removed without creating any dust. Most importantly, the workers performing the work need to have and properly use PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)
According to WHO (World Health Organization) Life-threatening human pathogens carried by sewage include cholera, typhoid and dysentery. Other diseases resulting from sewage contamination schistosomiasis, hepatitis A, intestinal nematode infections, and numerous others.
The homeowner in this instance did not recognize that the white pipe leaking was both contaminated sewage and moisture in the basement. This is another time that consulting with a professional instead of a “DIY” mold cleanup wise a very wise move for the health of the family living in this home.
THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT This is the horse and the hound and the hornThat belonged to the farmer sowing his cornThat kept the rooster that crowed in the mornThat woke the judge all shaven and shornThat married the man all tattered and tornThat kissed the maiden all forlornThat milked the cow with the crumpled hornThat tossed the dog that worried the catThat killed the rat that ate the cheeseThat lay in the house that Jack built.
THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT
This is the horse and the hound and the horn
That belonged to the farmer sowing his corn
That kept the rooster that crowed in the morn
That woke the judge all shaven and shorn
That married the man all tattered and torn
That kissed the maiden all forlorn
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn
That tossed the dog that worried the cat
That killed the rat that ate the cheese
That lay in the house that Jack built.
Yes, it did drive me crazy to not remember the ditty and I asked my friend “Google” to help me out.