Flu jab!

Hi everyone, it's got to that time of year again where I start to worry about flu vaccinations. I've just heard that the nasal spray is not recommended for people who come into contact with those who have RA. I work in a dental practice and haven't had a flu jab yet, however I will definitely come into contact with people who receive the nasal spray vaccine and am wondering if anyone knows the implications of this and also if having the injection myself will protect me against those who have the nasal spray?

13 Replies

  • The spray isn't recommended for those with RD because it is a live vaccine. We are advised not to have live vaccines because of the immunosuppressants we take. Live vaccines have the potential to cause infection in people who are immunocompromised.

    You don't need protection from anyone who has had the nasal spray - it is the spray itself which could be dangerous for you - not the people who have had the spray.

    Do bear in mind, though, that the jag is not guaranteed 100% effective - you could still contract flu from someone carrying a strain that isn't in this year's vaccine.

    If you have concerns, your GP or practice nurse should be able to help you.

  • Hi, I'm a bit confused about the flu jab....I see boots are doing it now like a drop in service. I've never been called by my doctor to get it and so I thought I didn't need it. However I'm now on methotrexate and have had a bad cold all week. The rheumatology nurse has told me not to take my mtx this week til this cold passes. Do I need to speak to GP about flu jab. I did speak to a locum last year when I was on plaquenil just and he said I didn't need it. Any advice please?

  • Yes you need to speak with your GP or rheumatology nurse as they know all your health issues and the likely impact of flu upon you. The guidance on the NRAS site I don't find particularly clear, but Arthritis Research has a sheet I have found helpful on vaccinations


  • It is a little bit of a grey area as whether it is essential for us or not as it does depend to a degree on our general health, age and extent of medication. If our rheumy or GP consider it necessary then you get it free, whereas with Boots you have to pay but anyone can go & get it.

    I view myself (on 20mg MTX) as merely immune compromised rather than immune suppressed, and am generally healthy. However, since I have a history of lung problems my rheumy felt it was advised, so told my GP to put me on the list for a free flu jab.

    Since I have had flu once pre-RA and it was really, really horrid I was quite happy to accept. I never want that again as it knocked me our for a couple of months.

    So talk to your GP.

  • Have you heard of First Defence, a nasal spray clinically proven to prevent viruses taking hold? Sold in Boots and, surely, other pharmacies. I believe there is a Vick one as well. It should be sprayed into the nose at the very first symptom...as early as possible. Also it is suggested that it can be used if one is in a situation where one is likely to be in an environment where there are viruses about.... e.g a plane, cinema and where you work. I don't know how often you would need to, or should use it, but the instructions will tell you, or a pharmacist may know. There are several applications in one bottle and it is not at all expensive. I always keep one handy in my medicine cabinet.

    I would rather use this than have a flu vaccination which, I have been told [although don't know if it is true] that the vaccine makes the RD symptoms worse.

  • This is bad advice. The jab may make you a bit ackey for a day but for the immunocompromised it is really important. If you've ever had real flu and not the bad cold everyone calls flu, you'll know it's not to be trifled with. Check with GP and get it if you've got the ok

  • These pages are not here to give advice but to share experiences of living with RD,to give ideas, thoughts and support. If you read my message clearly, you will see I did NOT give advice or suggest other's should not have the flu vaccination. I was saying what was right for me. I am 80 yrs old and have had flu many times in my life so I do know what it is like.... and I agree, it is not nice.

    Also, as a retired qualified nurse I know that people on immunosuppressants do not have the same resistance as those not on them.

    I was suggesting that people may like to try First Defence which is CLINICALLY PROVEN to prevent a virus taking hold.

    Note also, please, that I said I have been told that the vaccination makes RD symptoms worse but I did also say that I don't know that this is true.

    Maybe those who have had the vaccination can share their experiences which would be much more helpful!

  • Well I've had the flu jab the last few years and have never had a problem - not even an achy arm. But my RA is well controlled, so not sure whether it's different for those with more active problems.

  • Thank you. It would be good to know how the flu jab has affected, or not, other people xx

  • I've had my flu jab & pneumonia injection yesterday

  • I quit getting flu jabs about 8 years ago. It was odd how it happened. I always got it because I worked in a hospital and they did it for free every year for the employees. I never got the flu while taking them, but I did get HORRIBLE upper respiratory infections at least 3-4 times a year! It made me nuts. Anyway, one year I was on vacation when they gave the shots, so didn't get one. And low and behold, I went a whole year with NO upper respiratory infections! So I didn't get it the next year either, same thing. So I just quit getting them and haven't had an UR infection since. Could just be coincidence, but I decided that for some reason the flu jab did weird things to my body that made me more susceptible to illness. Just my experience though. :-)

  • Has anyone else tried First Defence nose spray, clinically proven to stop a virus taking hold. It has worked for me. My daughter also says it has stopped a cold going further than the first sniffle. She also gives it to her children. It is safe for all ages. Worth having in ready, [must be given at the first symptoms to be effective] and is not expensive. Available at Boots.

  • I am on metho and am offered (and taken) the flu jab each year. Not had any particular issues, bit achy for a day but hey, I am with RA anyway!

    I also use First Defence and use the boots anti viral hand foam to try to hit any viruses hard and fast. I work in an open plan office so there are always germs (for example, this month we have several whooping cough cases!!).

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