Does A Cold Or The Flu Make Ra Symptoms Worse?


Asked by Theresa

Does A Cold Or The Flu Make Ra Symptoms Worse?

Does a cold or the flu make your RA symptoms worsen? I have a cold that everyone else in the family got over quickly and I ache all over, have joint pain, and am very tired. I am finding it hard to accomplish simple daily tasks because I feel so poorly. I don't know if I am being weak or if an infection makes the RA worse. Thanks for your help.


Oh, absolutely! Any time your immune system gets out of whack, such as when you have a cold or flu, your RA gets a bit hyper, as well. RA is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks itself, so when it gets aggravated by at virus or infection and tries to attack the "invader", it stands to reason that the increased activity means increased RA, as well. This means that it will take you longer to get over an illness than someone who has a healthy immune system. Whether you are on immuno-suppressant drugs (like methotrexate or the biologics) or not, it's a good idea to be a bit extra vigilant in terms of avoiding people who are in the contagious stage of whatever virus is going around. All my friends and family know that I love them dearly, but if they're sick, I don't want to see them and they all respect that. It's not always possible to avoid illness, but try to not get too close to those who are sick and practice frequent handwashing. As well, eating a well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables will help make you as healthy as possible.

Although it is quite common for people with a chronic disease to take longer to bounce back, occasionally, something else could be going on. It might be a good idea to make an apartment to see your doctor to make sure that you're "just" taking a while to recover.

Answered by Lene Andersen, MSW