Chronic Illness

How a Cold Affects Your Chronic Illness

Living with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Mast Cell Disorder, I have a continual list of symptoms that make my life miserable.  Non-stop fatigue and pain are two of the EDS symptoms.  Mast Cell Disorder causes reactions, resulting in itching, stuffy nose, inflammation of the nose, cough and numerous other problems.  On top of these two health issues, I’ve had a horrible cold.

Cold Chronic Illness

The common cold is something we all hate, but must endure.  Colds are caused by a virus or inflammatory response. (NYTimes, Ackerman).  We know the symptoms of a cold: runny or stuffy nose, cough, congestion, sore throat, headache and more.  As I have been enduring this common cold, I began to think about the effects of my Chronic Illnesses.  Does having a cold along with EDS and MCAD create a worse cold, a flare, or both?

I can’t find any research that says anything about this question, but everyone I know has an opinion.  Most of us would say that when you have EDS, MCAD plus a cold you will feel much worse than you should.  I’m not trying to say my cold is worse than your cold, but could it be?


Inflammatory mediators: cytokines, kinins, prostaglandins and interleukins cause the cold to lead to all of our nasty symptoms.  Three of these same mediators are also causing allergic reactions in Mast Cell Activation Disorder.  Mast Cells are found in great numbers in mucous membranes.  Since we have inflammatory chronic illnesses already, the mediator release in MCAD is more than normal.

For me, having a cold with these two disorders (EDS and MCAD) causes severe symptoms.  This may be the reason my “colds” usually progress and eventually I have infections.  My history of chronic bronchitis and other respiratory infections goes back to my childhood.


Do you feel like a cold has been a trigger for you?  With Chronic illness, does a cold cause a flare?

NDNR: Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Signs, Symptoms, Triggers Common Cold How Not to Fight Colds 

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical expert, but only give my opinion.  If you have a medical concern, please consult your personal physician.

@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman


  1. I completely relate to all of this. Although I do not have the same illnesses the affects are the same. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fybromyalgia along with severe osteoarthritis resulting from a fall I had 30 years ago. My immune system is the same as someone who is on immunosuppressant drugs, which one of my daughters has. The specialist said that the CFS that I have causes inflammation throughout the body. I agree with your findings that a common cold usually turns into an infection somewhere in the body because of the poor immune response. It is impossible for anyone healthy to comprehend how we feel. I started my blog because I love creating in crafts and I find that this distracts me from the pain. I’m in bed now with the flu and an abcess under my tooth simply because I overdid it when family was visiting, and I’m sure you would be the same. I think it’s encouraging to talk to others with these” invisible” illnesses for the very reason that we can understand where others can’t.

    1. xaoti

      You’ve got three awful conditions and I hate to hear that you have the flu and abcess. All that infection on top of your regular pain has got to be miserable. You really overdid it, but I do understand. Over-doing it causes so much grief. Thanks for sharing and I hope and pray that you can get over these infections and flu very soon.

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