I was an on-and-off coffee drinker until about 2 years ago. At the same time, for the last 20 years I had been susceptible to contracting bad colds, bronchitis, and the occasional sinus infection about 2-4 times per year. This was always a surprise to me because I exercised regularly and ate a generally well-balanced diet.
About 3 years ago, I started noticing that I would get an itchy throat after drinking coffee. It would go away during the day, so I didn't think much of it. This would continue every time I had coffee, so I stated suspecting something was up when one morning I woke up with "razor blades" in my throat and the following day I was sick in bed. Being conditioned to colds and co 3-4 times per year, it never occurred to me that food or drink could be the source of my sickness or allowing me to be susceptible to it.
After getting over this last cold, I decided to stay off coffee for a while. About one month, it was a stressful morning at the office and I said to myself, "Oh I could use a coffee right now." And I did, and again, the sore throat came back right after the first cup! So then and there I decided to drink one cup per day and see what happens. Well, I would have had trouble believing it if it hadn't happen to me; I drank 1 cup of coffee for the next 5 days and on the 6th day I was back in bed with a cold!
After that last experience, I swore myself off coffee for good. And in doing so, have been cold-sinus-bronchitis-free for the last 2 years!
Now about 2 weeks ago, I went on a long driving trip and on the way back I was feeling a bit tired so I thought I would stop and get a small coffee for the road. After taking a couple of sips, I noticed that I suddenly had the sniffles and sneezed a few times. This lasted about 15-20 minutes. Other than that, all seemed normal for the next 2 hours. Then the nightmare happened.
After approximately 2 hours after those sips of coffee, this absolutely horrible feeling came over me. I felt like I was going to lose my mind and die. I can't describe it any other way. My entire throat was on fire, I couldn't think, and my stomach felt completely off. I also had a slight pain inside my mouth near the lower left and right sides of my mouth. I felt so horrible that I pulled over and very seriously considered calling 911.
I then thought to myself that maybe I needed some food in my stomach, since I hadn't eaten in 3-4 hours. I picked up a chicken sandwich, checked the date, and consumed it. I then got back on the highway, thinking that I would feel better, well I felt worse! I pulled over at the next exit and forcibly threw up the sandwich. Now, I was shaking uncontrollably and was feeling even worse.
I managed to drive myself home and sleep somewhat. The next day my throat was still very much on fire but I my stomach felt a bit better, and I had stopped shaking. The following day I fell sick with a very bad cold (sinus, coughing, and headaches). It has been 9 days now, so tomorrow I will go see a doctor.
To add to this story, I did have an allergy test 3 years ago and had no positives, including caffeine. I do have bad reactions to cat and dog hair, for which the allergy specialist advise they were intolerances, not allergies.
So my question is: Has anyone experienced past sickness that would resemble what I've just described? Is it possible that coffee (or one of its ingredients) lowers the immune system?