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feeling sick after flu jab

Hi all just an update on the flu jab, I have been given it today, after the nurse at my GPs said I was not on the at risk list, with just having RA it is not a disease she said, but they did in the end give it to me in good will, now 1 1/2 hrs on I’m feeling like I’m going to be sick don’t know if it is the jab or the RA as iv been having a flare up over the last 48 hrs, with hot painful joints bad cough and croaky voice, it is also getting closer to my 1st appointment with the rheumy on Tuesday, I’m going to tape the appointment so I can listen to it again as I know I will forget something they have said, hope you are all on a good pain free day love Becky xxx

19 Replies

Isn't it also to do with the medication you're on? Such as methotr..etc and hydrochlor...etc.. which affect your immune system? Also don't they know that flue would practically paralyse us for days and days??

Good on you for pushing to get what you need. I hope you feel better soon, Rach


Hi Becky,I am very new to being diagnosed with RA,only end of August,I'm on my 3 rd lot of mtx and my rheumo nurse said you can now have the flu and pneumonia jab because u have RA?im not sure if every doctor is different but RA is certainly a auto immune disease,so your nurse is wrong.i hope you get on we'll on Tuesday,make sure you ask loads of questions and great idea to record it.plse let us know how you get Michelle xx


So glad you got your flu jab. The way I think about it is that if this is a small dose of flu they give you and you feel poorly, how bad would you have been had you caught the full flu?

good luck on Tuesday , hope it goes well for you

Love Axx


This clarifies the NHS guidelines are for immune suppressed patients - so ra in itself does not qualify but the drugs may

"For most people, flu is an unpleasant illness, but it is not serious. If you are otherwise healthy, you will usually recover from flu within a week.

However, certain people are at greater risk of developing complications of flu, such as bronchitis (an infection of the main airways of the lungs) and pneumonia (a lung infection). These conditions can be serious and may require hospital treatment.

At-risk groups

The flu vaccine is offered free of charge to people who are at risk to ensure that they are protected against catching flu and developing serious complications.

You are eligible to receive a free flu vaccine if you:

are 65 years of age or over (including those who will be 65 by March 31 2013)

are pregnant (including women who become pregnant during the flu season)

have a certain medical condition (see below)

are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility (not including prisons, young offender institutions or university halls of residence)

are in receipt of a carer's allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill

are a healthcare worker with direct patient contact or a social care worker (see below)

Speak to your GP about the flu vaccine if you are the parent of a child who is over six months old and has a long-term condition that is listed below. Your child's condition may get worse if they catch flu.

Pregnant women

It is recommended that all pregnant women should have the flu vaccine, regardless of the stage of pregnancy they are at.

It is safe to have the flu vaccine at any stage of pregnancy from conception onwards. The vaccine does not carry risks for the mother or her baby.

There is strong evidence to suggest that pregnant women have an increased risk of developing complications if they get flu, particularly from the H1N1 strain.

If you are pregnant, you will benefit from the flu vaccine because it:

reduces your risk of developing serious complications, such as pneumonia, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy

reduces your risk of having a miscarriage or your baby being born too soon or with a low birthweight, due to flu

will help protect your baby because they will continue to have some immunity to flu for the first few months of their life

Talk to your GP or midwife if you are unsure about the vaccination.

People with medical conditions

The flu vaccine is offered free to anyone over the age of six months if they have any of the following medical conditions:

chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis

chronic heart disease, such as heart failure

chronic kidney disease

chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis

chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease or motor neurone disease


problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease, or if you have had your spleen removed

a weakened immune system due to conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or as a result of having treatment that suppresses the immune system, such as chemotherapy

If you live with someone who has a weakened immune system, you may also be advised to have a flu vaccine. Speak to your GP about this."


This list doesn't include RA though? I don't think we are more at risk until we are on the immunosuppressant meds because if anything our immune systems are too good at this pre treatment stage. But as you are obviously expecting a diagnosis and to be put on a DMARD it's good that you have been vaccinated now. I record my rheumy apts too. Tilda


No, RA on its own doesn't qualify you for the flu jab. But most of the treatments for it do (i.e. all the DMARDs or the anti-tnf drugs).


I had my flu jab today, no problems, told the nurse I was on MTX, husband had his next Parkinson's, followed by daughter who has asthma. We all seem to be fine, slightly achy arm but nothing major.



No problems with flu jab. Slightly sore arm but not so you'd notice

It's worth it


RA in itself is not a reason to be given the flu jab, it's the medications we take such as Methotrexate, Leflunomide etc which reduce the function of our immune system.

Just to add, contray to myth, the flu jab DOES NOT cause flu because there are no active viruses in the vaccine it can however, cause a mild fever and ache in the arm. Also, sometimes, people catch other flu-like viruses or, very occasionally, it may be possible to catch flu before the vaccine has taken effect and people automatically but incorrectly blame the vaccine for giving them the flu.

Beth xx


Thanks for the information. My husband has ischaemic heart disease and I have asthma and am on mtx hydroxy and humira. Haven't had the summoning letters yet though. I've never had a problem getting the jab or after. Just the achy arm


I am so sorry to hear that you are feeling so poorly but Lucky you to get a Flu jab so early - I phoned as soon as I got the letter to make an appointment - late November is the earliest I was offered - I am 70+ and as well as having RA I am not in good health. Go figure our wonderful NHS!!


Last year mine was five but this year my arm was very sore indeed - hot, swollen and achy for 3 days and nights - not sure why but my mother in law says this happens to her every few years so now she always has it in her left side. Tilda


Tilda this may be because it is a different strain of flu vaccine every year to combat the various strains that change in prevelance each year.

xx Cinders


That's what I wondered Cincers - but it didn't make me feel ill and it's not a live vaccine? I did get very tired though bu I reckon that was because I was also on antibiotics, injected myself with MTX for the first time and then didn't sleep all night afterwards because everything hurt especially my arm! I was told by my GP and the nurse that I had to have it as a priority on MTX - especially as I was about to go away - but I'll have to steal myself to have it next year as it really was most uncomfortable! Tilda x


gosh I have been so lucky, had my flu jab, didn't hardly feel it, the doctor told me i had finished! Then been home and feel fine, maybe i just have tough skin ha ha ( ye i know thick skinned!!) love Axx


Really glad it was this way for you Allanah - you really don't need any more pain. But I too didn't feel the actual jab - it was just later at night it became quite intense in my shoulder - thought I was flaring but then suddenly realised that it was that arm!

From what I've heard from others this is quite common some years.



Yeah last year i did get a sore arm, but somehow missed that this year, thankfully!! Axx


Oh well maybe next year will be my year off then! TTx


Hi Tilda T

Sorry to butt my nose in, but just a thought...

you mention you did your MXT injections that day and you were already on anti b's?

If so i think that may be the reason you didn't feel too well? - it doesn't matter now as it's now over, but next year, they really do recommend (or at least this is what i've been told;-) that you shouldn't have you DMARD for at least 24hrs post injection and you certainly shouldn't have your flu jab if you have or are being treated for any kind of infection?

But every NHS trust seem to give different advice!

Ella xx


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