Is one more prone to catching colds just after a dose reduction?

In Aug 2011 I developed PMR which was treated initially with 15mg of Pred. Currently on 1.25mg(2.5/0 alternate days). On advice from GP I am reducing slightly once a month and blood tests are normal, PMR getting better slowly. My husband has had cold after cold this winter. Every time I have reduced recently I have caught his latest cold. I have been prone to colds all my life so this may just be an unlucky coincidence. Is anyone else experiencing colds starting when they reduce and does anyone have advice on avoiding infection? I am a big fan of fruit and veg so unlikely to be short of vitamin C.

5 Replies

  • Perhaps the reason you are going down with lots of colds recently is because you are on a very low dose and your adrenal glands are working very hard at this stage to produce their normal amount of natural steroid (cortisol) again following being suppressed by Prednisolone, leaving your body more vulnerable to infections.

    Like you I place great store in plenty of fresh fruit and veg, but even though I steam most of my veg, any vit C is probably lost. I take a teaspoonful of Manuka Honey, UMF 10 or 15+ daily to boost my immune system. At the first signs of a cold or if I've been in contact with someone with an infection, I immediately have a piece of toast spread with butter and a fresh clove of garlic - frightens all the germs away (and probably all human life as well!). I happen to like garlic so try and include a crushed clove with whatever meal I'm having if it isn't already included in the cooking process - raw is best.

    Hopefully, now the summer is on its way (hopefully!), you will suffer less colds. And if hubby doesn't already take it, zinc + vit C might help his immune system. Years ago when my hubby retired he took a part-time job in a school, and he swears that the zinc + vit C has kept him immune from all colds.

  • Hi Celtic, I agree with your first paragraph. In reducing the medrol, I would often catch colds. Having grown up in Connecticut, U.S., I was used to cold weather and rarely caught colds or the flu. Now, living in NYC, which is actually warmer, more southern and on the ocean, I get them almost every week. Whatever immunity I had built up in CT seems to be gone. I agree, possibly the body is working so hard to have the adrenals produce, that the immunity capability suffers.

    Thanks on the Manuka Honey. I haven't heard of it, but will try it. And garlic, yes, I love garlic and I so agree that it is a natural anti inflammatory method of dealing with infection. Thanks for this post, good and helpful. all my best, Whittlesey NYC U.S.

  • Hello PatM,

    I have had PMR for 18 months now, and my Prednisolone is down to 2.5 mg.

    Had a cold that I cannot shake for about 6 weeks now,

    I sing in a choir and this is getting to be a problem as it is making me breathless at rehearsal and I can't get my upper range of notes as well as I did. It is our first concert of the season tomorrow too - and I will be doing a duet, which is going (I hope) at the beginning, whilst I still have a voice!!!!!

    I don't know how to avoid colds I am afraid, but what Celtic has said makes sense, that it is the low dose that is leaving us vulnerable.

    I saw my Rheumatologist last week and told him, and he didn't appear unduly worried , but did loads more blood tests anyway!!!

    Waiting for the results!!!

    Take care,


  • Thanks for both of your replies. I think that your explanation makes good sense Celtic. Hubby has bought some Manuka honey for me and I will give that a try. I will and do eat cooked garlic but can't face it raw. I will try to persuade hubby to take zinc + vit C but suspect that stress is responsible - from problems with his voluntary job! However he has just cut this back so hopefully that plus better weather will help.

    Karen - Hope that your blood tests are okay and that your cold goes soon. A cold lasting 6 weeks sounds completely miserable. I hope that your duet goes well. At least I have had some respite between colds although I am exhausted with all the coughing and my voice is hoarse from the current one. It seems to be a little better so hopefully it will be gone before long. I certainly will not drop the dose until I have got over this cold.

    Take care both of you.


  • Hi PatM, I am getting intramuscular injections of 10mg of methetextrate weekly. I find that as the week winds down and am due for the next injection, I seem more susceptible to colds and flu s. I believe the methetextrate and medrol can lower our immunity. It seems also that cuts take more time to heal. all my best, Whittlesey

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