The leaves are raked, the sweaters are out of storage—you're ready for fall. But your preparations aren't complete until you've taken one important step: getting your flu shot.
Arthritis sufferers are at greater risk
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it's especially important that people with arthritis receive their annual flu shot:
- If you have rheumatoid arthritis or another type of inflammatory arthritis, you are at greater risk of respiratory infections like the flu and complications like pneumonia.
- Some of the medications for inflammatory arthritis suppress your immune system, which also raises your flu risk.
- Your flu risk is higher if you have osteoarthritis combined with another condition like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.
The flu shot is safe and effective
The CDC recommends an annual flu shot for everyone older than 6 months. The vaccine is safe, effective, does not cause the flu, and will not make your arthritis worse.
If you take a biologic response modifying drug such as rituximab, you can still receive a flu shot, but you may need to coordinate its timing to make sure it's effective. If you take rituximab, ask your doctor when you should get a flu shot.