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Problems with the flu jab?

I'm new to the site, was diagnosed with sero positive RA this time last year and been on mtx since then.

I've had annual flu jabs for many years since I had TB and always found them great at helping to keep me well. I had a flu jab last year and everything was fine but this year it seemed to set off a flare up in the wrist of the same arm I had the jab. I've never had a flare in either wrist before and was woken in the night with a really swollen wrist and fingers like bananas.

I wouldn't want to put anyone off having the jab as I think it really helps boost immunity but wondered if anyone else has ever experienced anything similar?


8 Replies

I really didn't want to have the flu jab mainly because I felt I'd put quite enough 'stuff' into my body recently. If I'd still been on 15 mg of MTX I might not have gone for it. But I will be on 25 mg in two weeks time which I reckon is even more likely to weaken my defences so reluctantly I did have the jab.

Seems to me that as we have over-active immune systems anything that boosts immunity might well provoke a bit of a flare. I certainly felt bad for a few days, although I didn't get any new joint swellings.

Sorry, this isn't a well-informed view, I know - just ideas. Hope your wrist has settled down again by now.

Christina x


Thanks for that Christina - my wrist does seem to be more settled.

As I'm still relatively new to RA, I'm at the phase where the MTX is working (fingers crossed) and it's then quite a blow when I get a flare, but I do know things could be much worse.....


I had a lot of pain in the arm affected this time although was fine last year. I asked my mother-in-law and a care worker friend too and both said that sometimes it's painless but other years really sore. Mine swelled and went red hot and in lots of ways reminded me of an RA flare. It lasted for 3 days. Tilda x


Unfortunately i had my first flu jab after 2 big flare ups in my knees and it wiped me out!

Maybe a co-incidence but i'm reluctant to have the flu jab again now.



Ive had 2 flu jabs now since starting meds June 2011 and both times I've been fine apart from local initial arm pain which subsided by next day, guess we're all different. Hope I'm not jinxing my chances ;)

Judith x


Since the swine flue vaccine was added to the seasonal flu vaccines, every time I have it I seize, literally from top to toe, within 24-48 hours, so I know now and dose myself up to the gills with steroids for a couple of days before and after which seems to do the trick. If, however, your problem is limited to the wrist of the arm where you had the jab, i would advise you to get it checked out, just to make sure it is a flare, rather than a reaction to the jab.

Really hope you feel better soon.



It would be interesting to know if folk who don't have RA get the same kind of stiffness and feeling not right for a few days after the jab - I'm pretty sure I've heard people say they get a temporary and short-lived reaction sometimes. I'm not sure that personally a couple of days of not feeling wonderful would stop me having flu jabs - thats a whole lot better than the potential of actually ending up with a nasty flu and feeling awful for ages or getting dangerously sick.

But, anything out of the usual is worth checking with your doctor, as they know what to look for, what is serious and what isn't.


I have had no problems with the flu vaccine


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