GCA - Coughs, colds and flu

Coughs, colds and flu have really taken their toll this winter. Started on 60mg for GCA (positive biopsy) down to 7mg by mid November after 18 months and feeling fine, but since then have had two bouts of flu and at least 4 nasty cough / colds. Seem to be picking up everything going. Can't face the idea of uping the preds for non pmr/GCA symptoms. As I understand it we will all go through this vulnerable time until our own natural defences kick back in but in the meantime is there anything I can do?

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  • I've never had any bother with coughs and colds whilst on pred - but I wasn't on the high doses you were on for long. Someone else has said they were fine at higher doses but the problems started at below 10!

    I assume you had your flu jab? Even if it doesn't work for the worst flu this year because of it mutating it will cover you for the others.

    There are 2 major ways of avoiding infection: one is to avoid crowded places and simply being exposed. I know that isn't always possible - but the worst cold I've had in the last few years I caught sitting in the gondola car going up the mountain to ski! A student with a DISGUSTING cold was next to me and coughed and spluthered all the way up - had I got in a bit earlier I'd have got straight out again when I realised but it was too late!

    The other is to wash your hands religiously. You catch things via door handles etc - take avoiding action there when in public places. Effective handwashing takes the time it takes to sing through Happy Birthday twice - wet your hands, add soap, wash thoroughly between fingers too. Air dry or paper towel - never use blow dryers which harbour all sorts of germs, including Mr Dyson's sort, and they blow them all over the room. Hand gels are better than nothing but do NOT kill all known germs - soap is better

    Others swear by high dose vit C - no evidence it works for anyone except professional athletes (there is evidence of that though). Do not take any other supplements to "boost the immune system" - they are contraindicated with pred.

  • Thanks PMRPRO, unfortunately both bouts of flu came from contact with family members but I have now contacted my GP and will be getting the flu jab ASAP. I am singing happy birthday a lot more and at least it's a cheery song!

  • Mythemm, I have crushed fresh garlic on my evening meal daily (except if I'm going out!); I have a few squeezes of fresh lemon in warm water at the beginning of the day; and a teaspoonful of Manuka Honey (at least UMF 10, better still UMF 15), on my porridge or muesli each morning - can boost our immune systems. I don't have the flu vaccination, and, so far, seem to be keeping colds at bay for the last few years....hope I don't regret saying that!

  • My sympathies Mythemm. I wonder if you have had the flu vac? I never have it although my husband does & he is the one who gets the flu! I did decrease the steroids at a much slower rate (from 60mg) maybe that helped? Best wishes for a better 2015.

  • My sympathies Mythemm. I wonder if you have had the flu vac? I never have it although my husband does & he is the one who gets the flu! I did decrease the steroids at a much slower rate (from 60mg) maybe that helped? Best wishes for a better 2015.

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