Everybody’s more prone to getting sick when chilly weather brings people – and their airborne, surface-clinging germs – closer together. But those with inflammatory types of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, face added risk. That’s because both the disease and certain therapies to treat it – like biologics and corticosteroids – interfere with the normal workings of the immune system.
This also makes you more vulnerable to complications like pneumonia if you do fall ill, says Ruchi Jain, MD, rheumatologist in White Plains, N.Y.
To build your defenses, brush up on cold- and flu-fighting know-how:
Continue reading Myth or Truth: You Are At Greater Risk of Cold and Flu Because of Arthritis
Treatment guidelines published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America remind doctors and patients that people with a chronic inflammatory disease, even those who take immune-suppressing medications, should not shy away from getting flu and pneumonia vaccines.
People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, psoriatic arthritis and other autoimmune forms of arthritis face an elevated risk of infections, including influenza (the flu) and pneumonia. The increased risk may be due to the disease, which changes how the immune system functions, as well the medications used to control the disease, many of which suppress the immune system.
Continue reading Arthritis Patients: Get Your Flu Shots