I feel out of sorts again today.
I have a runny nose and feel like something is wrong with my throat.
I catch a lot of colds because I don't have a kind of antibody called IgA (Immunogloblin A).
IgA is one of the immune proteins (gamma globulins), and it generally exists on the surface of mucous membranes.
However, my body doesn't have the ability to build up IgA by nature.
IgA physically protects us against viruses and bacteria.
But because I don't have IgA at all, I'm weak against infections - especially from the common cold and diarrhea.
But the most severe problem with this illness is not weakness against infections.
Human beings generally build up antibodies to what they don't have.
So if I get a blood transfusion with normal blood, the normal blood will have IgA in it, and I'll build up the antibody to IgA.
But for me, IgA is not an antibody protecting me - it's an invader.
Because I don't have the antibody to IgA, when I get a normal blood transfusion for the first time, an allergy to IgA occurs little by little.
But when I get it for the second time, since my body has already built up the antibodies against IgA from the first transfusion, the allergic reaction occurs rapidly and seriously.
There's a very real danger that I could die from a serious allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock.
So if I ever need a blood transfusion, I need to make sure to get blood that does not have IgA in it.
That's not a problem when there's enough time to prepare the blood, like if I were to undergo an elective surgery.
However, for example, if I get into a car accident and lose a lot of blood, a doctor is going to have to choose whether to give me a transfusion using normal blood so I don't bleed to death, or to wait for the special blood so I don't get an allergic reaction.
To make things worse, the doctor may not even know that I don't have IgA at all.
If that happens, the doctors will be surprised that my contidtion becomes worse after the blood transfusion, and many hours will pass until they notice the cause is my IgA deficiency.
Anyway, at the moment I just want some antibiotics and a little bit of rest, if i'm going to have any hopes of shaking this cold.