Community Thoughts: RA Flares and Other Illnesses

What came first: the chicken or the egg? While the answer to this age-old question cannot be answered, our Facebook community helped us by sharing their own experiences of which comes first for them - the flu/other illnesses or flares. For many people living with RA, other illnesses or flu like symptoms might trigger flares...or is it the flare that leads them to be more susceptible to catch the flu or other illnesses?

We asked our Facebook community: “RA flares and other illnesses seem to go hand in hand for many. What comes first for you?”

Do illnesses/infections trigger RA flares?

Our community had various things to say about this. While most of the community alluded to flu/other illnesses being a trigger which often resulted in a flare for them, a few expressed that flares resulted in them getting the flu or another illness, and others pointed to a vicious cycle of illness and RA flares. A subset of the community also brought up the importance of getting flu shots for people living with RA.

Being sick comes first for me, and these are some symptoms:

  • Swollen glands on either side of my neck
  • Flu like symptoms comes first
  • Chronic migraines, sinusitis, tendonitis in my elbow
  • Sick comes first then the stress
  • A few days after recovering from the flu-FLARE, which led to my RA diagnosis.
  • Flu came with 107 fever when I got home I felt better then my RA started up
  • Full blown Virus, influenza and then a flare
  • Illness = Flare up for sure
  • Glands are huge - can’t touch them
  • The illness comes first then... Watch out!
  • Got the flu, turned to a chest infection now suffering from severe flares
  • Pneumonia
  • The virus and then nearly immediately the flare. The more viruses, the more increase in severity of symptoms.

Flares and joint pain come first then feeling sick

  • Jointpain and ankles swell, makes me feeling draggy and icky

The back and forth flu to flare, flare to flu:

  • Norovirus turned flare, then came the flu
  • I’ve been stuck with the flu, chest infection, RA flare cycle constantly since December. It’s been 3 cycles so far.

Weather can affect my flu/other illness and flares:

  • I get the flu like flare every other week because of weather.
  • Flu set my joints into overdrive - winter is the worst.
  • November to March my doctors are getting better at helping me fight/reduce of the winter months but they are still filled with suffering.

Flu shots and flares:

  • Got my flu shot and no flu still have my RA symptoms.
  • The flu shot is a must, but remember often a new strain crops up after the vaccine has been produced for that season.
  • I get my flu shot every year as a birthday gift to myself. Haven’t been sick in years.
  • I got my flu shot this year- but I did get a sinus infection, took antibiotic and I got worse, then my RA flared up.
  • Flu shot is a must every year.
  • I get my flu jab every year and I really think if I didn’t I would have been bad because everyone has a virus around me. I have to admit I don’t get many flare ups now but when I do they are very painful.
  • Got the flu shot this year then got the flu.

What do you think about the flu/other illnesses and flares and which comes first for you? Join the conversation and comment below.

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