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Does anybody work in a school and takes biologics?

I currently work in a junior school as an LSA although am off sick at the moment as waiting for Cimzia and in a flare . I enjoy my job but it is always really germy, snotty etc etc wondering how I'm gonna be when taking Cimzia and wonder whether working in these conditions really hassles my immune system and doesn't give me the best chance of remission...really thinking re jiggin finances and resigning having a year off to really concentrate on exercise , de stressing etc etc and then after a year just finding a local pocket money job a couple of days a week's hard to make these decisions anybody been in a similar position it's just all the germs/environment that concerns me?

12 Replies

I also work in my local primary school,as lunch time welfare,then go back for after school club.Most of the time we are outside(which I love)I'm hoping cos of the flu & pneumonia jab that I will be fine !!

The deputy head teacher also has RA on Mtx & she's only 38yrs (I'm 20yrs older)plus I only do 4hrs a day.

I think that is the main piont,even though I say it myself I don't really do very much just supervise them.Can I ask what an LSA is ??(I bet I'll know when u tell me)

More to the point who will take me on now at my age ,but its all I've done for 20 odd yrs & I do love it & the hoildays of course :) Anne xx


Hi Ann , sorry yes LSA is learning support assistant so I am always in the classroom and quite often working with a small group of children and never outside :(( ...winter is awful with all the bugs last year I constantly had a sore throat and I think the biologics reduce your immunity even more ...I also love my job but feel like a change in a better environment and a bit of time inbetween to give the Cimzia the best chance :) yes I agree school hols are fab but the downside is having to take holiday in them as it is sooooo expensive all swings n roundabouts :) ..thanks for your reply Anne it really helps to hear views of others as really am in 2 minds at the mo ...Claire xx


I work in and out of hospitals every day, always full of ill people-lol.

Anyway I expressed concerns as you have regarding biologics and this is how the nurse explained things to me.

Firstly, my immune system, as yours , is used to these bugs we encounter every day. Our immune system is over active and out of control, so the biologics , although they are reducing the system , are actually bringing it in to line, so it should work as it is supposed to.....does that make sense.

Anyway, I have continued to work and so far, touch wood, have not been unwell at all.

So I think you carry on as normal, take sensible precautions and see what happens.



Thanku that's really interesting and yes u made perfect sense thanku :)


I'm well impressed with someone who can carry on being a deputy head and have RA. I couldn't manage the job myself. What I found in the classroom was that I never caught the colds of the ranks and ranks of snotty teenagers, but I did get more aching and fatigued when colds were doing the rounds (like most of the winter). I think it was because as my immune system activated to fight off germs so it also had an impact on my RA at the same time. When I finally did get a cold it knocked me out for weeks and was kind of the beginning of the end for me. That said, the job and the school were hugely stressful and the management not especially supportive which added to the stress no end. Hopefully your place would be more understanding. Though I can understand you wanting to take a year out to get your health under control. I haven't worked fulltime now since June 2012, and I am masses better. I do a little bit of tutoring and I bake for a cake stall and it's so much less stressful.

Good luck with it all,

Dotty xx

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Hi all, yes poppy it does make sense to a point but then I wonder why we are then prioritised for flu and pneumo vaccines?

Anyway, I'm with you guys with the concern. My main job is fine, no children, however I have a face painting business which in itself it pretty hard going with RA!! Hours leaning over children with my arms up painting children can be agony and so I limit my jobs to no more than 3 hours now. I used to be able to paint for 6-7 hours pre RA. The main problem is being so close and literally hands on with all those snotty little faces!! You'd be amazed at the number of mums that feel its acceptable to sit their child in front of me with green candles. I of have to get very close to them to paint them and smaller children just haven't learnt not to cough and sneeze in your face ewww!

I have wondered whether or not to call it a day with the face painting but the money is really good and I have to say we need it. Having said all that about snotty noses I do also really enjoy doing it too. It is a tough call Claire and only you can make it. Rx


I knew what LSA was the minute I posted,just too early this morning to get it.

You actually have a very stressfull job,you get all the kids that need even more help .

Plus I don't know much about biologics(think they are the strong ones)So I can understand you not wanting to go back.

With regards to deputy head,she has just been diognosed with RA,at 38yrs,2 young kids & divorced last November(she thinks thats what started it) I do feel sorry for her situation.She started MTX mid August back then she was in a lot of pain,just today she has told me how she is pain free,as she knows I start MTX tomorrow,she was very sicky for about 6 weeks,but now fantastic(so if she can do it,I'm sure I can)

Good luck with your decision,But I do think a career change might be for the best.Let us know the outcome Anne xx


Hi Anne

I hope you do as well on mtx as your colleague. BUT if you don't it's really important to remember that everyone's RA is different, which is partly why it's such a b****r for doctors to treat. I can't count the number of times that someone has said to me "Oh I work with someone who has RA and they're fine", in a way that suggested I was not quite trying hard enough because I'm not fine. Don't for heavens sake beat yourself up if it takes a bit longer to find the right meds for you.

Good luck with it,

Dotty x


Thank you ladies for your replies - green candles lol Rosie it's sooooo true - half the prob with all germs is mums sending their kids to school ill ...I used to work in the office at the school for 6 years before becoming and LSA and I really think that's what triggered the RA as I had to send all the poorly kids home ! One year slap cheek was getting all the kids and I was constantly sending them home after taking temperatures little hugs etc and bang got a virus and then woke up with RA , thanks little pepes lol!! Of course cannot be 100% but am almost sure as also I collapsed mysteriously in 2004 ended up in A and E in a bad way, they thought I had a brain tumour my body just shut down, after MRI scans , lumbar puncture (hideous) docs were bemused and 2 days later my daughter went down with chicken pox ! So again I reckon the virus hit my immune system and my body reacted , only now after being diagnosed with RA do I understand that I have an auto immune disease so it all sort of makes sense now . Re job I'm still unsure , not scared of work have always gone back after my babies were born but think I have finally realised that you have to put yourself first especially with health issues ....hopefully will start biologic next week and see how I go but still feel a constant germy environment is not ideal so maybe somthing else ...will keep u updated ..thanks again Claire x


Hi Claire!

Another LSA here, primary school,working with small groups of children in an enclosed space. I'm on mtx tablets and have infliximab infusion every eight weeks. Touchwood, being with the kids is not too bad - I am constantly amazed that I don't come down with every sniffle and cough going. However, when I do feel grotty I take time off - I'm not one of these 'soldier on' types. I accept that with the drugs I'm on, things can turn nasty very quickly.

Having said all that, I saw my rheumy yesterday and have been told that the infliximab does not seem to be working any more. I am constantly drained and tired and have flu-like aching all over. Joints are not inflamed nor swollen but the symptoms are that of infliximab failing. Have been told that it might be time to start 're-thinking my working environment' were the exact words. I only do 4 days a week, 5 1/2 hours per day but am whacked out by lunchtime.

Working in a school can be a very stressful job, especially if the head is not supportive of RA. Good luck with your decision.....


I am a supply teacher I work in both secondary and primary schools. And yes it is tiring and your immune system does take a battering. Especially when you are trying to control a classroom full of 33 teenagers, which I tried to do the other day.


I also work in a primary as a Teaching Assistant and am on Enbrel and after seeing our health in the workplace people I was advisided that carrying some hand wash gel around with me would help keep some of the germs at bay, it seems to be working so far, touch wood. I just keep a small bottle in a pencil case and use it at end of lessons.


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