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      Winter vaccinations!   11/03/2016

      It is very important for people with chronic diseases, such as SLE,and for those people taking corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, including chemotherapy drugs, should go to their doctor to be immunised against flu. Flu is not a bad cold! It can be dangerous. Apart from the annual flu jab, ask your doctor about the pneumovax vaccine which will help prevent serious problems with the lungs. Those with asthma should also ask about the various kinds of vaccines available. Finally, Herpes Zoster infections can lead to the risk of strokes in certain populations which include, rheumatoid arthritis and SLE. There is a new post with information, along with a video. Be well! Ros
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      Blogs!   03/27/2017

      All registered Members can write their own Blog here! Just click on Blog and select a title!
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      Registration and Validation   06/03/2017

      Thank you for your Registration! Validation is not automatic and will depend on time zone differences!It ought to be no more than 24 hours. If you do not hear within 24 hours, send me a message using the Contact Us! This is to try and prevent spammers, bots etc! When you Sign Up,  Please use the following to complete the Date of Birth entry: nn-nn-nnnn where n=number. Thus, if your birthday is 5th May 1968, enter: 05-05-1968. Use the “-“ separator and not the “/“. Thank you and hope the LuPUS MB is useful to you!  
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      GHIC   09/08/2017

      I am excited to announce that LUpus Patients Understanding & Support (LUPUS) is linking with The Graham Hughes International Charity (GHIC). This means I will be posting articles from Professor Hughes here. About 25% of those with SLE also have Hughes Syndrome. As more research is being done, its findings are extremely important for those who have this condition. Like SLE, diagnosis can take a very long time.

Recommended Posts

Managing Infections for Lupus Patients - Highlights from Dr. Curran's Presentation
On August 9, 2012, the LSI hosted an educational teleconference “Managing and Preventing Infections for Lupus Patients” presented by Dr. James Curran.  The event included a presentation by Dr. Curran followed by Q&A from the callers. The article below is based on information obtained from the teleconference.  The entire transcript will be available online in the next few weeks.

The second leading cause of death in SLE is infection – making managing and preventing infections a top priority for lupus patients.  Lupus patients are at greater risk for many reasons;  most are on immunosuppressive therapy at one point or another, pathogen exposure at office visits and lupus itself causes a dysfunction of the normal immune response to name a few.

Treatments may also contribute to the high infection rate.  The new biologic medications (rituximab, orencia and Benlysta) can increase the risk of infection.  Corticosteroids, including prednisone, increase the risk of infection.   The higher the dose of corticosteroids you’re on, the longer you’re on the dose, the greater the risk of infection.

The incidence of infections in lupus patients – especially life-threatening infections – appears to be highest in the first five years of the disease.  One reason for this might be that in the first five years, patients are undergoing treatment that is modifying their immune response.

Infections lupus patients should be mindful of include bacterial, viral and fungal.  Some common threats to lupus are pneumococcal pneumonia or streptococcus pneumonia, Haemophilus influenza and staphylococcus aureus.  Lupus patients have a predilection towards salmonella which in lupus patients frequently causes osteomyelitis or bone infections.  Shingles is more common in lupus patients than the general public.  Yeast infections are also common in lupus patients.

Other non-hospitalized infections include respiratory tract infection, sinusitis, urinary tract infections and skin infections.  Usually with aggressive treatment and early diagnosis, these infections do not require hospitalization.

What can you do to protect yourself again getting an infection?  

First, non-live vaccines are recommended.  That would include the flu shot (NOT the flu vaccine administered through the nasal passages), Pneumococcal vaccine every 5-10 years, a Bordetella pertussis booster, Hepatitis B (for healthcare workers) and meningococcal to name a few.

If you are on a biologic, be aware that the biologic medicine may impair the normal response to a vaccine.  If you have lupus, you should be vaccinated before you use any biologic and before taking major immunosuppressant medications.

Plaquenil, hydroxychloroquine, decreases the risk of infections.  A 2009 study showed that individuals on Plaquenil are 16 times less likely to get a major infection when taking the drug – regardless of whether or not corticosteroids are also taken.  So, patients on corticosteroids and Plaquenil had fewer infections than patients on steroids alone.

Other things you can do to manage infections are to be sure to get treated with antibiotics if you are sick.   Be sure to use bactericidal drugs – drugs that kill the bacteria instead of freeze it.  Lupus patient’s immune system needs to kill the bacteria.

In conclusion, remember vaccinations are very important – avoid live viruses. Plaquenil reduces risk of infection.  Limit your exposure to infection.

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