The Importance of Getting Your Vaccinations

Do you wonder if vaccines are dangerous? Have you read articles that raised concern about the safety of vaccines for people with chronic conditions? Has someone told you that the flu vaccine can cause you to get the flu? 

At Rheumatology Solutions, our staff of experts would like to take a moment to discuss why vaccines are especially important for people who have chronic conditions, especially conditions that fall under the umbrella of rheumatic disease. Whether you have psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus, gout, or any other rheumatic condition, vaccinations could save your life. 

In this post, we present some commonly held misconceptions about vaccinations, as well as some reasons getting vaccinated is critically important for people with chronic health conditions. 

What exactly is a vaccination? 

Whenever your body is exposed to certain toxins, it produces an antibody. That antibody provides protection from infection or injury by that toxin. The first vaccination used a virus called cowpox or vaccinia, which caused a mild illness, to prevent the far more deadly smallpox. 

Any deliberate exposure to a non-toxic product, in order to cause your body to produce an antibody, is a vaccination. There are vaccines for a great many diseases and conditions, and they save thousands of lives each year. 

Vaccination will not make your condition worse

Vaccines do not cause rheumatic diseases, and they do not make them worse. There are some types of vaccines that may not be effective for people who are taking high doses of prednisone or immunosuppressive drugs. However, at Rheumatology Solutions, we work closely with you, understand your condition and your medical history, and only recommend appropriate vaccinations. 

Why it’s especially important to be vaccinated 

Chronic health conditions can make you more vulnerable to complications, hospitalization, long-term illness, and death from vaccine-preventable diseases. You work hard to maintain your health and control your condition. Staying up-to-date on vaccinations is one more way to protect yourself. 

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system attacks the lining of your joints. One of the ways we treat rheumatoid arthritis is with medications that suppress your immune system. However, that means you’re more vulnerable to common infections, like respiratory tract infections. 

Following experts’ recommendations to take an annual flu vaccine could help you avoid contracting a potentially complicated respiratory infection. Your doctor may also recommend taking a pneumonia vaccine and a shingles vaccine, depending on your condition. 

Your individual circumstances matter

Your specific diagnosis and overall health are critical factors when your doctor recommends vaccinations for you. Some vaccines, such as those containing a live virus, are not appropriate for some patients with rheumatic conditions. 

If you’d like to learn more about vaccinations, safety, and whether or not your situation calls for special consideration when it comes to vaccines, book an appointment at Rheumatology Solutions. You can book online at your convenience, or you can call us at 210-526-9798, Monday through Thursday between 7am and 5pm. 

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