If you have inflammation and are taking anti inflammatory and immune suppressing medications you are at higher risk of infection. Those with Inflammatory arthritis such as; psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis or lupus need to have regular vaccinations and stay up to date with them.
The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is required yearly and takes approximately two weeks to begin working. I always hear the story that having the vaccine causes the flu. This is a myth. You may however, have aches, pains, and soreness at the injection site. If you happened to be exposed to the flu virus on the day you have the injection you will not be protected.
If you take methotrexate then missing the next 2 doses after the vaccine improves the efficacy of the vaccine and generally does not cause a flare up of the arthritis.
The pneumonia vaccine is recommended for everyone over 65 and for those on immune suppressing drugs. There is a new vaccine called the PCV-13 and is highly recommended. This is used in combination with the old vaccine.
If you need to have a live vaccine you cannot receive it if you are on a biologic drug. Live vaccines include shingles, flu mist, measles, mumps, rubella, yellow fever, and other childhood vaccines.
The good news is that there is a new non-live shingles vaccine coming soon.
Travel – Be prepared
If you are going to travel I highly recommend visiting a travel medicine clinic at least 6 months before the travael date.
How to avoid infections
If you have inflammation and arthritis and are on any immune suppressing mediucations you are at an increased risk of infection.
Here are some simple self hygiene rules
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Use dilute bleach to decontaminate objects such as land line phones that you might share with others.
- Keep your sinuses open and avoid foods that might lead to nasal stuffiness.
- When travelling by plane turn off the vent above your head.
- Take a weekly dose of zinc 50-75mg.
- Take Vit C 2000 mg/ day.
- Be meticulous with your food hygene in the house and when eating out. Remember 1.