Defending against infection while on immune-suppressants

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 2832
   Posted 10/13/2008 5:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I am close to starting Remicade.  Just wondering how the heck does one defend against infections and for that matter, fight off infections that you inevitably get.  As a normie, one would take various things to boost the immune system- mega dosing on Vit C or ester C, certain Chinese herbs, etc. ... but who knows what the heck you are doing mixing immune boosters and immune suppressors, though to my mind it would be one option temporarily.  Is there much one can do apart from try like heck to wash ones hands all the time, not touch your face etc to avoid getting the germs of others?  There are of course all these anti-cold/virus gimmicks out for sale now for traveling etc, most all of which look like worthless scams.
Pancolitis 20 years ago, full med-free remission 10 years,
Flaring/simmering on and off ever since
10 20 17.5 15 12.5 10 mg 8 7.5 20 mg pred, 100 mg Imuran
Probiotics (Primal Defense and others), TSO, hookworm
Turmeric/circuminboswellia, fish oil, many vits/minerals
Lower-carb version of Specific Carb Diet (SCD), Remicade next

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 10/13/2008 5:09 PM (GMT -6)   
I've not seen any information that any of the herbals are not okay with Remi. I really haven't been troubled with more infections since on Remicade, in fact I think I've had one cold in the past 2 1/2 years. I do make sure to wash any cuts or scrapes and put antibiotic ointment on them, but I was doing that even before thanks to the growing prevalence of MRSA.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from Entocort.
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 369
   Posted 10/13/2008 6:09 PM (GMT -6)   
I have not taken Remicade, but do take 6mp and have taken pred many times. I also have a actaul immune deficiency.

Precautions i take are, washing hands alot, i carry antibacterial wipes to use on all shopping carts and after shopping where im opening doors ect that others touch. When i pick my son up from school, i disenfect his hands before he gets into the car, then i change his clothes when he gets home. I get my flu shot every yr and vaccinate my entire family also.

When i notice htat im getting sick, i get to the doctor RIGHT away, rather than wait a few days to try to fight it off.

I know some of this is a little over kill for the average person, but just wanted to give u some ideas.
I can say that after 5 yrs on 6mp, i have not noticed a increase in sickness.

Good luck
2003, dx moderate UC
2000, dx selective IGA deficiency w/ anti IGA antibodies
2000, dx Antipholipid Antibody Syndrome
1999-current, chronic hemmoragic ovarian cysts, w/ partial ovary removal
1977, complete reconstruction of foot after lawnmower accident (chronic pain)
6mp 75mg, prednisone 40mg (just starting meds again)
percocet 5mg 3x day
potassium 3x day

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 3402
   Posted 10/13/2008 7:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Besides the usual wash your hands all of the time, stay away from people who are sick, and make sure you get enough sleep - remember that when your colon is in good condition it is a major defense point for the body. So, in theory, if the Remicade heals your colon, you should be better able to fend off illnesses. This doesn't mean you should purposely expose yourself, but it does mean that you don't need to freak out about things while taking appropriate precautions.

Stay well :)
Pan-colitis and GERD diagnosed May 2003
Osteopenia (hip and spine) diagnosed Feb 2006
Status:  Remission?!?!?
Asacol 12 per day,  Azathioprine 100mg, Aciphex, Forvia, and Pro-Bio
Remicade: 1st infusion 06/17/08:  Next infusion: 10/07/08
Last Prednisone dose:  7/15/08
Co-Moderator UC forum:  Keep HealingWell running smoothly:

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 149
   Posted 10/13/2008 7:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Eat right, exercise, and rest are all good natural ways to keep healthy. It sounds simple but most dont do it.
26y old male medically disharged USAF veteran.Diagnosed with UC (lower proctitis) in 2004.
Current daily treatment:                               Probiotics & supplements:
                                         50 Billion CFU's acidopholis&Bifidobacterium daily
2400mg oral asacol                                      Digestive enzymes
5mg prednisone tapering                             5grams of glutamine
75mg azathioprine                                       folic acid & calcuim with V-D
20mg Nexum                                               Whey protien  
Diet:Little/no sugars, fats, carbs, caffine,sugars,yeast. Stay natural as possible.  
Results:1 Bowel movement in the morning no blood! Remission since 08Sept08

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 2832
   Posted 10/14/2008 6:18 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks all. I am an exercise-aholic so that isn't difficult, esp. if Remi actually gets me in remission- ditto on getting a good night's sleep, which is rare now due to gut pain.
Pancolitis 20 years ago, full med-free remission 10 years,
Flaring/simmering on and off ever since
10 20 17.5 15 12.5 10 mg 8 7.5 20 mg pred, 100 mg Imuran
Probiotics (Primal Defense and others), TSO, hookworm
Turmeric/circuminboswellia, fish oil, many vits/minerals
Lower-carb version of Specific Carb Diet (SCD), Remicade next

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 6448
   Posted 10/14/2008 8:17 AM (GMT -6)   
I agree with all of the above, and when I start to feel like I'm getting a cold, before I hop on a plane or if the cold is going around the work area, I use Zicam. It's worked well so far! Take care and good luck with the Remi!


Remicade - will have my 25th infusion on November 26 
Vitamin B-12/Biotin, Probiotics
Co-Moderator for the UC Forum

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 1366
   Posted 10/14/2008 8:20 AM (GMT -6)   
I've been a little concerned about this as well. I just got put back on Azasan yesterday and am going to try it for three months and if I haven't improved my doctor said we have to go to Remicade.
I work in a hospital (operating room) and we get C-Diff, MRSA, VRE, etc patients allll the time. Granted I have no actual contact with them as I'm a secretary, but I still get a little paranoid that someone helping them won't wash their hands, I'll touch something they did, whatever. I guess I'll just have to keep up on washing constantly. Luckily we have sinks and hospital grade soap all over the place.

Female, 23, Ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) since 1999; GERD; gastritis; osteopenia in femur head & lumbar spine from long term prednisone use...

Current Meds:
Lexapro 10mg, Sulfasalizine 3000mg/day, Azasan 100mg


Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 10/14/2008 10:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Believe it or not, since I started on 6mp, I hardly ever get sick anymore! I take the extra precautions though just like everyone else. I wash my hands alot and/or use antibacterial lotions. I am careful not to put my fingers around my eyes or nose. In bathrooms, I use my sleeve when I open the bathroom doors - just stuff like that. But when I DO get sick, I get SICK. I am almost guaranteed to get some sort of virus right around my birthday (lucky me) and each time I end up on antibiotics and I also run high fevers. However, I would much rather have that one illness compared to many of them.
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Year-round allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Spinal Stenosis(?)~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~3rd epidural injection 9/4, Neurontin and Skelaxin
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2148
   Posted 10/14/2008 11:06 AM (GMT -6)   
last year when I went on Aza I got my flu shot and other then being careful about making sure not to stick my finger in my eye for any reason unless my hands were washed and washing my hands before eating anything using my hands, that was all I needed. Also, my friends and I love to go out and try fancy drinks well I stopped trying theirs and letting them try mine.

It was really just basic hygeine.

We always have snacks in my office more so during the holiday's, I never ate any b/c the person next to you could have just touched something someone sneezed on and not even realizing it picked up a cookie next to the one you touch and also I never see anyone wash their hands before they eat a snack or go to lunch, so they get the germs too.

I just realized that I still eat snacks and stuff at friends holiday parties, so maybe that whole theory doesn't work? At least it keeps me from eating snacks @ work.

Last year my sis had 5 bad colds, my husband 3 and I had the sniffles for 3 weeks. I think just basic handwashing and using hand sanitizer when not able to wash your hands works.
Beth, 33 ~ hoping to taper pred successfully, wish me luck!
Major Flare Sept/Oct 07.  Flare May 08 (from aspirin?).
UC dx'd 03/00 Proctosigmoiditis; Pancolitis since 09/07
Azathioprine 200mg 1xday nightly; Calcium and Vit D 500mg 3xday, Multi Vit, Folic Acid 400mg 2xday, Prilosec, Probiotics.
Minimal Change Disease (Kidney Disorder) dx'd 09/07. Close to remission since 9/08.
Prednisone 5mg/2.5mg alt days 1xday, Simvastatin 20mg 1xday, Diovan 160mg 2xday. Tekturna 300mg 1xday, Fosomax 70mg 1xweek. MCD may be from hypersensitivty to 5ASA drugs.  Do you have edema? If so, check your blood protien level!

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 10/14/2008 11:50 AM (GMT -6)   
I've been on Remicade since February and haven't gotten so much as a sniffle. I've unknowingly been around a few sick people in that time and was fine.

31 year old female diagnosed with UC (entire colon) Feb 2008
(4) 400mg Asacol 3x a day
Remicade 10mg/kg every 8 weeks 6 weeks
Omega 3 supp, calcium supp, probiotics
Prednisone 20mg

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