PsA and the Flu

Well, after 3 years without even a sniffle, I got walloped by the worst flu I can remember. I did get last year’s flu shot but I didn’t get this years yet. It started with a cough, a constant cough, then sinus pain and every joint that bothers me during a flare is ramped up with amplified pain. Nothing seems to help and the coughing won’t let me sleep…my rib cage feels like it has been pummelled…very painful to cough. I’m not sure if I should wait it out or stop taking Rinvoq while my body fights this. I’ve done 2 home Covid tests…both negative. I would encourage everyone to take extra precautions around people, you do not want this! I was on 5 different crowded flights last week and the airport terminal was elbow to elbow people. The deep aching is indescribable. Anyone else been down with this bug? There is my whine for the day!

That sounds just miserable, I’m so sorry you’re that sick. If it helps any, the instructions that I have are that if I have any illness with a fever or that requires antibiotics, that I should hold off on my medications and so I’m feeling better. Specifically that means for me methotrexate and Humira. Although I did just get permission to stop the methotrexate this week thank goodness.

In the meantime, you know the drill. Rest up, lots of fluids. If it gets worse go see the doctor. The concern is always that it becomes pneumonia.

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Poor you. It’s doctor question if you stop meds. In the UK it’s always discouraged basically because biologics have such long half lives so all you’re doing by stopping is allowing its strength to weaken making your immune system haywire again which then struggles to deal with the virus. Also you run the risk of you growing antibodies to the biologic by stopping and starting it. Mxt is a different matter and more so if antibiotics are prescribed.

Rinvoq though is supposed to get out of your system really fast but again you run the risk of your immune system going haywire again which ostensibly could mess up its ability to fight off the virus. Remember we’re only on these meds because we have insane immune systems causing the PsA in the first place. I certainly fight off things better now on biologics than before I was on them.

But given the severity of your flu plus sadly your age the risk of pneumonia developing is higher. So your doctor needs to monitor carefully. My guess is that they will say stop the Rinvoq but please don’t make that decision on your own.

They had anticipated this year being a big flu year sadly and the flu vax is always one to get as soon as it’s released for us lot. Here in the UK hospital admissions are now about flu not Covid.

Cyber hugs @Amos. Proper flu like you have is truly miserable.

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Yes, thank you for pointing that out.

Your doctor is ALWAYS who you should be checking in with on these types of questions. Many of us have been given guidelines by our doctors, but we are individuals, and the same doctor may make different decisions on these questions with different patients.

Thanks @Poo_therapy and @Stoney, due to the fact that it typically takes days for my rheumy to respond, by time he answers, I have figured things out on my own. But thanks for the reminder that the biologics/rinvoq that we take is not something like Tylenol that can be started and stopped at will. For now, I am staying on the meds and riding things out seeing slight improvement each day. The doctor’s clinics are absolutely swamped right now with all ages of the population getting hit with the flu or covid….and it takes 12+ hours to get in at Urgent Care. The fever is gone and that has reduced inflammation but the deep chest cough is hanging on. This is likely the result of being kept safe during covid and none of us got our incremental immune system booster that comes from mild exposure to many things. The children are especially being hit. Our grandkids are all dealing with constant colds and flu bugs as their little systems get updated now that they are back in the real world. Thanks for caring!

Glad to hear you are seeing slight improvement every day. I had (still have) something similar came on a few weeks ago but it was very definite COVID. Both antivirals and antibiotics prevented a hospital admission for me I’d guess. Now to see if the extra pain, even higher heart rate and shortness of breath hangs around…

Well, round three with yet another flu bug. A few years ago I felt like my immune system was weathering the colds and flu’s really well. My wife works with kids at a school with various learning issues and is exposed to everything and brings stuff home with her. It never seemed to pass on to me until the last 6 months…now I seem to pick up everything from the g’kids and everyone else. Kind of disappointing as we all want to see positive things as time goes by…but my immune system just isn’t what it was. I guess even a cold can trigger a flare?
The exciting thing is that PsA is seldom boring! With this bug, I have had inflammation not previously known in my hands and feet. My wife remarked last night, “Have you seen how red and swollen you hand is?” The flu issue is causing whole body pain and it just moves around randomly from shoulders to feet and makes sleep difficult. Has anyone heard/read reports as to the effectiveness of the flu shot this year? In my life, I would rate it a “fail” as so many have been battling influenza since fall. Oh well, just have to rest and wait it all out. The PsA is usually manageable and accepted as a new “normal” … It’s the way our body responds to other stuff that really can throw us.

I get the flu jab religiously every year. No flu yet for me this year. The flu virus rather like Covid mutates all the time into different strains so it’s always best to grab the latest vaccine.

But also due to the pandemic, we all spent at least two years avoiding one another. Our collective immune systems (leaving aside us with PsA) are unpracticed in fighting things off. That’s why people are just anyway falling more ill than in previous years. It’s not the lack of integrity of the vaccine, it’s that our bodies are out of practice of just working hard enough to battle these things even with the help of the vaccine.

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