Achy muscles an allergic reaction?
April 2, 2012 8:15 PM   Subscribe

I ache all over, and have post nasal drip with a bit of ear congestion. I also feel hot when I touch my face and neck but I do not register a fever. I woke up like this today, and I currently feel TURRIBLE with the body aches. Feels like the flu, but shouldn't be because I had that in February. Is this an allergic reaction?

YANMD, and I have an appt Wed morning anyway. If I feel this way tomorrow I'm calling the allergist. By why do I feel so incredibly achy, weak, and inflamed in my muscles? No visible hives, no itching, no nausea or stomach issues (so I doubt this is related to my gallbladder issue last weekend...feels radically different).

About 25 years ago my grandmother was diagnosed with some sort of muscle disease where she was the 6th reported case in the US. She can't remember the name so I asked her to find out. I have times where I just feel "inflamed" all over so I wonder if I have an autoimmune thing going on. Or just really weird allergies. This has happened before and will last 24-48 hours usually.

I know you can't diagnose me, but could this achiness be allergy related? Am I reacting to something systemically? Any ideas on what to Google?

(my PCP is not the greatest. When I saw him about the gallbladder last week he said "sometimes that happens when we eat". But he ordered an ultrasound anyway so I will have those results Wed.)

Sorry I'm asking medical questions again...I'm insanely curious about what could be going on. Apparently I'm a hot mess at this point in life.
posted by MultiFaceted to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)
That sounds like the flu. There are always a few strains going around, so having it once isn't insurance. Consider yourself lucky. When my husband worked in a public school, I got it four times a semester.
posted by freshwater at 8:18 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

I had what sounds like something similar a couple of weeks ago, and it was just a weird cold. Probably. Or a very mild, short-lived flu. I was sick as a dog for a couple days (exhausted, achy, did nothing but sleep and drink tea). I took ibuprofen and, when a nonproductive cough developed, a cough suppressant so I could sleep. I came down with it on a Thursday and was back to work on the following Monday. I felt completely better in a week or ten days.

By all means see your doc, but it's probably something best treated with rest and fluids and something to lessen the aches. (But if you do have autoimmune issues in close family members, that's an avenue to keep exploring.)
posted by rtha at 8:22 PM on April 2, 2012

Sounds like an incoming sinus infection, in my experience. Ibuprofen and decongestant will keep the ear pressure down, hopefully enough to avoid the earache.

This happens to me when my allergies finally beat down my system.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:42 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yup, you can get the flu multiple times in one season. The vaccine has a few strains in it each year for precisely this reason. (There are also lots of other viruses that cause flu-like symptoms -- mono and CMV are two of the more famous, but more anonymous ones also exist.)
posted by en forme de poire at 9:19 PM on April 2, 2012

The vast majority of what people get is not influenza (aka: the flu) but one of the many, many, many variants of rhinoviruses and/or coronavirus. You could have had influenza in Feb and a rhinovirus now. Or a rhinovirus in Feb and influenza now. Or a coronavirus in Feb and a rhinovirus now. Etc, etc, etc.

In fact, I was sick for a week late Jan/early Feb, and then sick again mid to late Feb. I'm pretty tired of being sick this year.

Also, it could just be allergies. If I were you I'd pick up some Zyrtec or Claritin and give it a shot. For me allergies feel very much like the start of a cold (feeling flush w/o a fever, post nasal drip, sneezing, general lethargy, sometimes a sore throat) except a cold escalates within 24 hours and allergies just go on... and on... and on. In the midwest at least everyone I know agrees that the pollen from all sources is pretty damn bad this year.
posted by sbutler at 9:39 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

i'm with lyn never - i got this a few days ago and it was absolutely allergies finally breaking through my defenses. i also treated it with ibuprofen and a decongestant (and a long hot shower with these* in a cup to breathe in).

*found way cheaper at basically every big box store or drug store
posted by nadawi at 9:41 PM on April 2, 2012

if you're going to give allergy meds a shot and you're not currently on any, go for zyrtec over claritin. i find claritin needs a day or three before it really starts working, especially if the allergies are this bad.
posted by nadawi at 9:42 PM on April 2, 2012

Muscle aches are a typical symptom of a viral upper respiratory infection or influenza. Don't overthink it. Allergy meds may help with the congestion part of things, to treat the muscle aches, take Tylenol or ibuprofen.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:07 PM on April 2, 2012

If you don't have a temperature, it's probably not even the flu, just a really bad cold.
To cheer yourself up, imagine what the ceremony's going to be like when you pick up that Overthinking-itter of the Year award.
posted by Acheman at 1:39 AM on April 3, 2012

Whatever it is, my husband has it too, and thinks it is allergy related. If you live in the Northeast all the tree pollen is out early and making people miserable.
posted by mermayd at 2:32 AM on April 3, 2012

Response by poster: Acheman: I am the grandest over thinker eva! (also:eponysterical or however you spell it).

It's 5am and I have a fever. Whatever this is, it sucks and I am sure my PCP will tell me to tough it out like he did last week. This is why I never go to the never seems to be a benefit. Ugh.
posted by MultiFaceted at 3:26 AM on April 3, 2012

I'd agree with sbutler. What people call 'flu' isn't generally influenza. True 'flu' is something the average person might get once in ten years, but if you took some of the people I know at their word, you'd probably conclude that there was a new influeza pandemic every three months.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:31 AM on April 3, 2012

The three big tells of the flu are Fever, extreme fatigue, and body aches -- esp. the lower body. You are currently batting 2-3.

If you get the chills or a fever, then the likelihood of it actually being influenza are acutally pretty significant. But, even as is, I wouldn't dismiss the possibility - fatigue and full body aches are not common in the milder upper respiratory tract infections.
posted by eriko at 6:01 AM on April 3, 2012

If it's a sinus infection, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics but I find I am often able to fight these off with some combination of nasal irrigation (use a syringe or neti pot, watch horrible things come out of your nose, it's fun!), hot showers, hot beverages, and OTC decongestant (pseudoephedrine, the behind-the-counter stuff).

I had very similar symptoms last week, oddly, and was sure I was getting the flu ( or DYING) but I think in fact they were a perfect storm of jetlag, exhaustion, allergies, and PMS.
posted by mskyle at 6:54 AM on April 3, 2012

Startlingly, this is exactly how I felt over the weekend, until yesterday! Like mskyle I think it was a complicated thing* - the weather here's been freakishly extreme, school's been taxing, everything's been more important than sleep... you get the idea. As for getting through it, I try and stay warm.

And asleep.

*Caveat being that this wasn't the first time. The 'perfect storm' scenario is the only time I get sick, so I can recognise it. YMMV, etc. Hope you do feel better soon though! It's a pretty miserable time to get sick, but at least find comfort in the fact that you're not alone. At least, in my school lately, choruses of sniffles and coughs break out randomly during assembly.
posted by undue influence at 8:07 AM on April 3, 2012

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