October 02, 2007

Flu and Pneumonia Season is Upon Us

As you may know, it is recommended that lupus patients receive a flu shot every year. Flu shots are considered to be safe and effective for people with lupus. Sometimes a shot or vaccine can trigger a flare, but this usually involves several days of fevers and muscle aches. Frequently people with lupus tolerate vaccines without any side effects.

One caution. The inhaled flu prevention treatment (flu-mist) is not recommended for people with lupus or for their family or close contacts because it contains weakened (but live) virus. It would not be safe for people with any immune-compromising disorder or those taking any immune suppressing treatments.

The pneumonia shot (pneumococcal vaccine) is also recommended for people with lupus. A second dose should be given five years after the first dose. This vaccine can help to prevent most, but not all, kinds of pneumonia.

As always, lupus patients should always talk with their doctors before receiving any vaccine, especially if you are pregnant or have had certain types of allergic reactions in the past.

Have a healthy fall season!

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