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Hi, a friend of mine has lupus. She is absent from work a lot. When I go to visit her, she says she has a cold. But, she looks really bad. She has a high fever and can't get out of bed. I was wondering why she is having such a hard time dealing with simple colds. Why do people with lupus suffer from infections more frequently?

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Hi, lupus is a chronic, autoimmune condition. Immune system is our defender against the infections. Sometimes, the cells that are responsible for these reactions mistake our own tissue for an intruder and act against it. This causes an inflammation of the affected tissue which results in an autoimmune illness. Lupus can affect many organs and when the condition is active it can show symptoms similar to the symptoms of a cold. High fever, pain while breathing and fatigue are some of these symptoms. On the other hand, people who have lupus are more prone to infections because of the immunosuppressive drugs they are taking. These drugs suppress the activity of immune system and that makes your friend more susceptible to infections. Also because of the lupus, the conditions like a common cold require a much more serious treatment. And, sometimes these infections may activate the lupus. Maybe your friend wasn't always down with a cold, but didn't want to bother you with her condition. I hope you will now show more understanding for your friend's situation.
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