One flu virus after another: Since starting... - PMRGCAuk


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One flu virus after another

YuliK profile image

Since starting prednisone treatment 10 months ago

my immune system has taken a hammering, with one flu and bronchitis attack after another. I am at present on 8mg pred, but feel so bunged up with cold, coughing and rib pains from the constant coughing...that I don't know if my joints are aching from the flu or I'm having a flare

My ears are blocked up and I have a heavy dull head ache eyes are watering and actually look like two pee holes in the snow ...

I have no fever, just feel completely drained. Drinking lots of hot tea with lemon squeezed into it ...(no sweeteners or sugar )

Has anyone else felt so susceptible to these viruses since suffering pmr ?

I'll be ok I'm sure in a couple of days,

YuliK 🤧

23 Replies

I had the flu jab in Autumn which so far seems to have done its work well. However, although I've avoided flu, I've found myself for the last 3 or 4 months going down with every cold that's doing the rounds. Also, I can't fully shake off blepharitis in my right eye. It keeps dying down and then flaring back up again. I've tended to blame the methotrexate which I also take, and which I believe dampens the immune system even further.

YuliK profile image
YuliK in reply to Marijo1951

Thanks for your reply Marijo

I resisted having the flu jab and that was probably a mistake.

YuliK 👍

Daisychain12 profile image
Daisychain12 in reply to YuliK

Me too. I was too scared. But my immunologist said I must have it next winter. He said “ you might feel rough for three days with the shot but you will feel rough for WEEKS without it”. Couldn’t argue with that really xxx

I didn't feel rough after it at all. I've had the flu jab every year for years without any after effects. When I worked for Transport for London, it was available free to all employees, then I paid for it for a couple of years, now I get it free on the NHS because of my age. I was very prone to pick up flu and always seemed to be particularly ill and then wretched for weeks afterwards. The worse thing it ever did to me was the time I had a bad bout at about the 6th-7th week of pregnancy. As a result my second daughter was born with defective vision in her right eye, similar to the macular degeneration that elderly people are prone to. She's been told that she's lucky it didn't affect both eyes.

Sorry you are feeling so unwell.there seems to be a lot of this going around ,and the cough seems to last for weeks. I am dreading getting it myself as people seem to be coughing and sneezing everywhere l go.Personally l think it is not the PMR ,just this time of year when so many are affected .l also found that when l have had a virus like this while taking pred,it has so far helped prevent the severe asthma l used to get because that is what they prescribed for me pre PMR when my asthma was bad as the result of chest infections. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will do the same when l do catch another cold.l know that there are bound to be others who have had a different experience .Take it easy and l wish you well again soon xx.

YuliK profile image
YuliK in reply to Grants148

Yes you're correct regarding flu viruses, they are everywhere. I carry a small white dry cotton towel flannel and hold it over my nose and mouth especially when I'm in a lift ...better than a hankie.

Thanks Grants for your feedback.

YuliK. 👍

Daisychain12 profile image
Daisychain12 in reply to YuliK

Great idea! Xxxx

Darling avoid closed in stuffy places. Even wear a mask. I felt stupid in my mask but I wore it anyway xxxx

PMRpro profile image

Don't know if the flu jab makes a difference or not - I only know I have had mine every year since I started pred and I'd say I have fewer colds than I did before, certainly no more. One humungous one per year - as I always did!! Everyone is different - maybe I'm just lucky!

piglette profile image
piglette in reply to PMRpro

It seems the flu vaccine is spot on this year according to Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for U.K. I am not sure I believe everything she says!

PMRpro profile image
PMRproAmbassador in reply to piglette

Hmmm - plenty of people I'd believe before her!!!!

piglette profile image
piglette in reply to PMRpro

She was the one who said that a glass of wine could increase the chances of breast cancer.


nickm001 profile image
nickm001 in reply to piglette

THey have to wait until the end of the season to get stats. Last year flu shots were only 10% effective ( basically 9 out of 10 people who had shots got flu anyway). Average year is 40-50% effectiveness.. Like flip of the coin. I know this is anecdotal example, but my in-lows family had flu shots this year and my family didn't. For New Year holidays husband had a flu, wife had a cold and kids were fine... Our family -none had a cold thus far - knock on wood.

PMRpro profile image
PMRproAmbassador in reply to nickm001

I'd dispute the figures Nick - the Centre for Disease Control issued their analysis in October and say:

"The overall vaccine effectiveness (VE) of the 2017-2018 flu vaccine against both influenza A and B viruses is estimated to be 40%. This means the flu vaccine reduced a person’s overall risk of having to seek medical care at a doctor’s office for flu illness by 40%. Protection by virus type and subtype was: 25% against A(H3N2), 65% against A(H1N1) and 49% against influenza B viruses. These VE estimates were presented to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on June 20, 2018."

The claims of lack of efficacy usually come from the anti-vaccine cohort. Having the flu vaccine never does mean 100% assurance you won;t get flu, it does mean it is likely to be less severe though. But even 10% improvement would also mean less morbidity.

nickm001 profile image
nickm001 in reply to PMRpro

Sorry, but I cant find the link to the stats that I was quoting. I read it few weeks ago while I had similar discussion with "good_grief" member. I seem to remember that it was broken down by age groups and 10% number is for our age group.

It also depends how you define "effectiveness". To my best knowledge, flu vaccines did not reduce mortality, which is for US is ~ 4-6000 per year. (You will find that number quoted as in 60-80K, but that includes influence and all associated illnesses.)

Since we are on the subject of vaccines, you may find it shocking that since Vaccine Injury Court was established in 80's , total payout for compensation is $4 BILLION US Dollars! and in the last few years average is about $275-$300M /year. The highest number of injury are from --Influenza!

Note: Instead of the vaccine, I use hygiene, wash my hands often, rinse mouth and wear mask if I am going in "high risk are", like hospital or mall.

I have flu jab every year but my best tips are lots of hand washing, no kissing and hugging or hand shaking at social events. Wearing a mask on public transport, too.

🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠🦠be gone. Valerie

Top advice Val!! Yes to all of it xxxx

It's miserable, I feel just like you - have had this fluey cold and cough for over two weeks, ribs hurt, head aches, eyes watering and feel generally grotty. I did have the flu jab, But I don't think this is flu. Have been on steroids for two and a half years with GCA, so resistance definitely low and probably why it's taking so long to shake it off. My doctor Insisted that I have the flu jab, which I have had for the last three years, with no side effects - so probably a good idea next year.

Hope you feel better soon.

YuliK profile image
YuliK in reply to Sho-Sho

Thank you everyone for all your kind replies. Feeling a lot better today ..

Daisy, hope your getting your pills delivered in a sterile cup...😉

Cyber hugs and hope you will be on your feet in next to no time.


Hello Yulik,

Are you taking any vitamins or herbal supplements to support your health?

I would suggest andrographis. Have a look into it. It has helped me a lot

PMRpro profile image
PMRproAmbassador in reply to strong19

Like most such supplements this should not be taken together with immunosuppressant medications. Since all of us are on at least corticosteroids and some on other things as well, it is inappropriate to suggest it here.

YuliK profile image
YuliK in reply to strong19

I checked for side effects and this is what I found:

“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Andrographis might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using andrographis.

PMR/ pro is always corrects.

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