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Live Vaccines

Having only recently been diagnosed with RA i have very little knowledge of drugs and side effects except what i could find in the internet.

Well i am taking Arava and knew i could not have live vaccines but didnt realise i had to avoid contact with anyone who has just had them! Only just read this tonight whilst looking for sinus remedies i could use. Cant believe my husband has, yesterday, had yellow fever, typhoid and polio injections as he is going to Ghana to work!

I am now rather worried as obviously i have been in contact with him as we live in the same house lol!

Am i overly worrying or right to be concerned? Am even thinking of sleeping on sofa tonight!

Any help appreciated.


10 Replies

I'd phone NHS direct and ask them just to be sure. But it could well be a risk you don't need to take, but why not make him sleep on the sofa not you! Polly


I'd phone NHS direct and ask them just to be sure. But it could well be a risk you don't need to take, but why not make him sleep on the sofa not you! Polly


Thanks Polly

Think i will give them a ring to be on the safe side. Theres so much i dont know about RA i feel clueless and useless at times lol!

I dont mind the settee as im only a little dot and its comfy.


Rang nhs direct and they are only taking emergency calls!

Settee for me tonight lol, will ring reummy nurse tomorrow and let you know the outcome!

Thing is hubby is going away to work for a month but what will happen when he returns, i cant avoid him forever xxxx


That's an interesting one, Josie (although obviously rather worrying & inconvenient for you). I started googling this & did not get very far but it does look like it is just people who have been recently vaccinated that you might need to avoid so at least they'll be no worries when your husband returns.

Hope you get a good, worry-free sleep on that sofa,

Christina x


Ive been googling it for the last hour but although it says avoid contact with people who have recently had live vaccines it doesnt say what to do if its too late and youve had contact lol!

Its a good job i can laugh as all this information i know little about is scary.

I havnt actually taken Arava for a week as i had 2 big flare ups one after the other then doctor gave me flu jab and ended up totally wiped out for about 4 days so rheumy nurse told me to stop off them till i felt better in myself and put me on steroids. I'm sure i'm right in thinking the arava would still be in my system wouldnt it?

While i'm here i may as well ask if anyone knows if steriod tablets can cause hot flushes and explain lack of period..........

Only found this place a few days and its been more help than my rheumy nurses have been since i was diagnosed in April lol!

Thanks all



Hello Josie

Sorry I can't help on the vaccine side of things and really hope you can get the answers you need very soon.

Re the steroid tablets - I don't know what dose you are taking Josie but I think I am right in thinking that steroids can cause hot flushes and menstrual irregularities - I am pretty sure that both are mentioned on the patient information leaflet, I've had both problems and been on steroids for years but, because I have other health issues it is hard to say in my case how much effect the steroids have had on these things.

I'm really glad you have found this site Josie - and sorry that you have had so little help since your were diagnosed. I know from experience that RA can be very isolating - particularly when you are first diagnosed - and I wish that sites like this had been around when I had my diagnosis 17 years ago.

Hope you manage to speak to your rheumatology nurse today Josie.



I think its the "recently had live vaccines" that is the important bit - so yes, while your hubby's vaccines are still getting into his system it could be a slight danger period, but it shouldn't be by the time he comes home again. For the moment I'd just watch out for anything where you could physically have contact with the areas of his skin where the jabs were done (i.e. watch out for shared towels, etc, and the sleeping separately was a good idea) or with bodily fluids. Maybe do things like wash your hands a bit more often or use the sterilising gel - just until you get proper advice from your rheumatology nurse.

It may be absolutely fine. The warnings on these things are always more cautious than they need to be. And after all, how do you know that someone you work with hasn't had live vaccines, or your neighbour who comes to visit? Its not something you can easily avoid unless you isolate yourself completely.

Yes, steroids can definitely give you hot flushes.


I can't imagine that you'd have to avoid hubby for long, as the body deals with the live vaccine quite quickly as reactions tend to die off after a day or so.

Re steroids, yes they can do all sorts of weird things. Are you on the oral tablets? If so, do be careful about tapering down properly when you come off them, not stopping abruptly, and try to come off them as soon as you can. In some people they cause mood swings too, although many are fine. But if you do start throwing things at hubby's head (which is what I did) then it'll be the pills not him to blame. Oddly I have no problems with steroid injections... Polly


Hi all

Firstly can i just say a big thank you for all the advice and for listening.

I rang rheumy nurse this morning and she said there was no need to worry about hubby's vaccines and i should be ok, though she didnt mention anything about towels or sleeping separately!

It is the steriod tablets i am taking but only for 6 weeks. This was, they told me, to boost me back up before i re-start my arava, which is going to be monday. I have to reduce tablets every 2 weeks but will be glad to get off them! Bad enough not sleeping without hot flushes as well lol!

Never had this problem with injections so i wont be taking these again!

Havnt hit my hubby as yet but least now ive got an excuse lol!

Many many thanks again for replying and listening



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