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Meds when you have pneumonia

A month ago, I woke up with a slightly sore throat and was a little wheezy. However, I ignored that because I am asthmatic. I had my annual flu shot which this year contained 4 strains and also my PnumoVax, unfortunately they hadn’t worked. By that evening I knew that I was in trouble as I could barely breath and was coughing non-stop. So I phoned a friend who took me to my RA guy next morning. He was a little alarmed and sent me for a battery of X-rays,blood tests and so on. Diagnoses- Pneumonia. He said the problem is that because the RA meds suppress the immune system, I had acquired a secondary infection. Wonderful! So after 20 years of never having antibiotics, I was now on a 4 week course of treatment. Worse was to come, because I was taken off the methotrexate to allow my immune system to kick in properly. The result of this is that I am now having a full blown flare. The pneumonia is now under control so I have permission from my RA guy to begin my methotrexate programme again. Hoping that I never have another bout of pneumonia as it has certainly been no fun.

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  • Barbara Vincent author
    3 years ago

    Thank you Erin. Yes it has been a battle. Worse because I am an author with a deadline for my next book in two months. naturally, an RA flare makes typing quite difficult. However, onward and upward as the old saying goes. There has been an outbreak of viral influenza in Australia few the past few months of a type that wasn’t covered by the vaccinations for influenza for 2016 here in Australia, which has led to me contracting it and the subsequent secondary Pneumonia infection. I believe that there have been a number of deaths due to it in the very young, the immune compromised and the elderly.

  • Kelly Mack moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Barbara, So sorry to hear about your bout of pneumonia! I went through a similar experience and had to be off my methotrexate and biologic for about two months. By the end, I was really feeling the RA! I suggest checking with your doctor to see if its possible to temporarily raise your prednisone in the hopes that it helps with the RA while you recover from pneumonia. I found that rest was the only cure for pneumonia and it took a long time. Hang in there! Keep us posted. Best, Kelly ( Team Member)

  • Erin Rush moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Barbara! I am so sorry you are dealing with pneumonia on top of RA! I hope going back on methotrexate goes smoothly and you get relief from your flare very soon. I know it has to be frustrating to lose the progress you had made in managing your RA symptoms with methotrexate and I hope you recover any “lost ground” very quickly. Since RA does affect the immune system and the meds that help manage it suppress the immune system, it’s not unusual for people living with RA to have to work extra hard to avoid getting ill. You might relate to this article about one of our contributor’s bout with pneumonia — It sounds like you did everything right and just got unlucky this time! We also hope you don’t have to deal with pneumonia ever again. Best wishes for your continued recovery and for your re-introduction to methotrexate. Thanks for sharing your story with the community! We’re glad to have you here. Best, Erin, Team Member.

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