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Crohn's Disease Forum » Parents of Kids with IBD » Son has UC, How to avoid sickness during Winter?


09-12-2014, 09:18 AM   #1
tnthudson
 
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Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
Son has UC, How to avoid sickness during Winter?

Hello!
I posted this on 'Your Story' and was told I could/should repost over here.
I'm posting on behalf of my 17 y.o. son who was diagnosed last year with U.C., and has been in a flare for just about all of that time (until very recently).
We've gone through 5-ASA drugs, antibiotics, immunomodulators, and now Methotrexate (Otrexup) and Remicade (just dropped Apriso, wasn't helping). So far this latest protocol seems to be helping, but we've only done two Remicade infusions and four Methotrexate shots so far. He is finally off of prednizone for the time being, anyway.
At any rate, my concern is this: cold & flu season is coming, and with the respiratory illness stories recently out of the midwest, I'm a bit concerned.
Any things to look out for during cold/flu season when the immunities are down due to drugs like Methotrexate and Remicade? Anything we can do to help strengthen the immunities without compromising the drugs?
Thanks so much, glad to be a part of this community!
Todd
P.S. I also have a question about his fatigue but will post separately.
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Son dx with UC in October 2013 @ 16 y.o.
Have gone through a dizzying array of various Aminosalicylates, Immunomodulators and Antibiotics.
Could not stay off Prednisone until beginning Remicade & Otrexup (Methotrexate) Aug. 2014. We'll see how it goes...
09-12-2014, 09:25 AM   #2
Clash
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My son was on Remicade and MTX for some time and we never had a problem with him getting sick more often than others. He is 17, and the most I can remember is that last year we waited to long for the flu shot and he got the flu. It was a mild case though and only slowed him down for maybe a week.

I would just practice hand washing and good hygiene. Of our household, he has picked up way fewer bugs than the rest of us. It seems to be true for a lot of the kiddos on here, I'm sure other parents will chime in.
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Clash
Mom to
C age 19
dx March 2012 CD

CURRENT MEDS: MTX injections, Stelara


Dx May 2014: JSpA
8/2014 ileocecectomy
9/2017 G tube

PAST MEDS: remicade, oral mtx, humira
09-12-2014, 09:33 AM   #3
Maya142
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My daughters have been on biologics for years and have not gotten sicker than other kids. The older one is currently on Humira and Methotrexate, the younger one is one Remicade, Imuran and Methotrexate (a very low dose).

Like Clash said, we just wash our hands a lot and try not to share drinks if we can help it. In school, the girls try to avoid sitting next to someone who is coughing and sneezing but it can't always be avoided. We all get the flu shot. So far, it seems to have worked quite well.

Good luck!
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Mom of M (20)
diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at 16
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at 12
Juvenile Ankylosing Spondylitis at 16

Mom of S (23)
dx with JIA at 14
Ankylosing Spondylitis at 18
09-12-2014, 11:05 AM   #4
Henrietta78
 
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What about adding a probiotic supplement? They are supposed to support immune system health, although I am not sure how/if they would interact with the meds?
09-12-2014, 12:30 PM   #5
DanceMom
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Lots of hand washing, don't share food/drinks, use antibacterial wipes at home/school when possible, avoid large crowds........
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A is 12

Diagnoses: Immune Dysfunction, Hypogammaglobulinemia, Asthma, Allergies

Treatment: Privigen (IVIG), Flovent, Zyrtec, Cellcept
09-12-2014, 01:49 PM   #6
Sascot
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Hi and welcome. We don't tend to do anything out of the ordinary over winter. Lots of hand washing and if family gets sick we tend to try stay away until the bug passes. When one of the immediate family is sick I do tend to run around disinfecting things like tap handles and light switches .
So far my son doesn't seem to get sick any more often than we do.
09-12-2014, 04:48 PM   #7
my little penguin
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Biologics three years here
Habd washing plus flu shot
Otherwise nothing out of the ordinary
DS started biologics at age 8 ( third grade ) so ...
Lots of germy little kids.
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09-13-2014, 11:20 AM   #8
tnthudson
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Sorry, tried to post this but my session had expired, let's try again.
Thanks so much, everyone, that helps bring the anxiety level down a bit
We do take a probiotic (VSL3) per the Dr's. instructs, so hopefully that may help, but I get the feeling hand washing is important, haha!
He's a borderline germiphobe so we've got that covered, so that's good to hear from you guys.
Thanks again, much appreciated!
09-13-2014, 06:17 PM   #9
DustyKat
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Agree with all of the above tnthudson.

Plenty of hand washing, Fluvax and avoidance where possible. This is my mantra to them.

We are coming to end of the Winter season here and it has been one in which swine flu has reared its head again and gastro has been doing the rounds. Ugh! I am the only one in the house to have missed them both with my kids picking up both. Sarah was the most severely hit with the gastro bug but came through unscathed as did Matt and the flu for them both was mild. As a general rule though they do seem to get less infections and of a milder presentation than most of the ‘normal’ population.

Dusty. xxx
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09-13-2014, 08:35 PM   #10
Nym
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Anything we can do to help strengthen the immunities without compromising the drugs?
Thanks so much, glad to be a part of this community!
Todd
P.S. I also have a question about his fatigue but will post separately.
Hi Todd,

my renal specialist put me on Vitamin D and it helped me enormously and didn't cause any interatcion problems with any crohn's medications I was on at the time.

I used to suffer seasonal asthma attacks. Not any more. I'm no longer a magnet for viral invaders looking for a host.

My latest blood tests finally resulted in a normal range vitamin D for the first time in 9 yrs. I was taking pretty high doses during some of those yrs - 8000UI - currently at 4000UI and staying put. During any flare-ups I would hold the gel caps in my hand until they were almsot ready to burst. This ensured at least some of them stayed in my system.

All the best. ♥

What is the Real Cause of Influenza Epidemics?

A theory gaining weight in the scientific community explains influenza epidemics as a result of a dormant disease, which become active in response to vitamin D deficiency. This theory provides answers for many of the above questions. A disease that remains dormant until vitamin D-producing sunlight exposure is reduced by a winter or rainy season would explain a widespread seasonal disease with a rapid onset and decline.

There is compelling epidemiological evidence that indicates vitamin D deficiency is just such a "seasonal stimulus." Recent evidence confirms that lower respiratory tract infections are more frequent, sometimes dramatically so, in those with low levels of vitamin D. Researchers have also found that 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day abolished the seasonality of influenza, and dramatically reduced its self-reported incidence.

title:What is the Real Cause of Influenza Epidemics?
source: Mercola.com
09-15-2014, 11:56 AM   #11
tnthudson
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
Wow, some great info, thanks much to both of ya'll.
I think my son is still taking Vit D / Calcium, I'll have to check and make sure. They've changed so many things over the months it's hard to keep up!
09-15-2014, 12:17 PM   #12
Tesscorm
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Same as above... my son has been on remicade for 1.5 years and I don't believe he has been sick more often than most others. Last fall, one of his roommates developed mono, the boy had to leave school but my son was not affected. He did have strep throat in the spring but, for the most part, it cleared up without issue. The only thing I noticed with the strep was that it seemed that his throat stayed a bit red for a few weeks (noticed at a couple of unrelated follow-ups) but he had no other symptoms.

He has recently been diagnosed with molluscum (viral skin rash) - not sure if it's related to being immune suppressed or just bad luck.

What our GI told us is that being immune suppressed does not make you more likely to 'catch' something but it may take longer to fight it off.

As far as boosting his immunity, the advice our specialty pharmacist gave me as a rule of thumb was that I could give him anything that you would find in typical food, ie vitamin C would be okay as it's found in oranges, etc. However, not to give ginseng (not even in tea), Cold FX, etc. (However, to be safe and regardless of 'rule of thumb', I personally would check with our pharmacist or GI before adding a new supplement.) As supplements, my son drinks 1-2 Boost shakes each day, takes 2000 IUs of liquid vitamin D and krill oil (fish oil).
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Tess, mom to S, 22
Diagnosed May 2011

Treatment:
May-July 2011 - 6 wks Exclusive EN via NG tube - 2000 ml/night, 1 wk IV Flagyl
July 2011-July 2013 - Supplemental EN via NG, 1000 ml/night, 5 nites/wk, Nexium, 40 mg
Feb. 2013-present - Remicade, 5 mg/kg every 6 wks
Supplements: 1-2 Boost shakes, D3 - 2000 IUs, Krill Oil
09-15-2014, 12:33 PM   #13
Mehita
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What our GI told us is that being immune suppressed does not make you more likely to 'catch' something but it may take longer to fight it off.

As far as boosting his immunity, the advice our specialty pharmacist gave me as a rule of thumb was that I could give him anything that you would find in typical food, ie vitamin C would be okay as it's found in oranges, etc. However, not to give ginseng (not even in tea), Cold FX, etc. (However, to be safe and regardless of 'rule of thumb', I personally would check with our pharmacist or GI before adding a new supplement.) As supplements, my son drinks 1-2 Boost shakes each day, takes 2000 IUs of liquid vitamin D and krill oil (fish oil).
Ditto, ditto, and ditto, minus the krill oil. We do probiotics instead. We also do 2000iu, Vit D.
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Mom of DS, age 17, dx Crohn's and Celiac Oct 2008
- Remicade, started Nov 2013, added Solumedrol June 2015
- added Methotrexate/Folate March 2016
- Multivitamins, Probiotics, Vit D
- Small bowel resection, Jan 2013
09-15-2014, 05:56 PM   #14
my little penguin
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Same here DS does vsl #3 pr
09-16-2014, 08:03 AM   #15
tnthudson
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
OK this is good to know, we've got Vit. D and probiotics covered, and he actually takes fish oil, I will have to check on the boost shakes, interesting!

Edit: Looks like Boost shakes should help with nutrition he may be not otherwise getting/absorbing?
09-16-2014, 08:49 AM   #16
Tesscorm
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At one time, our GI suggested that, if my son were to take a multi-vitamin, children's vitamins are more easily absorbed. However, I did compare the Boost shakes and the children's vitamins and the Boost shakes provided more vitamins/minerals (although that may not be the case for each individual vitamin/mineral).

The Boost shakes work for us because in addition to the nutrients, it provides additional calories (and, there are varieties that offer higher calorie, protein, etc.) and he typically replaces his breakfast with a shake (healthier than buying a fast food breakfast sandwich). As the shakes are filling, he's come to like the convenience of not needing to make breakfast, that he can just grab a shake and go (and he does this at other times too - ie if he's hungry before a hockey game or later class, just grabs a shake...). (Keep in mind, I'm not a bad mom that doesn't feed her son! He's away at school and I just know that fast food will often end up being part of his diet! ). And, because they've become so much a part of his diet, I think he's actually more 'compliant' than if he had to remember to take a vitamin.

I also buy the Boost fruit beverages, he says they taste like regular juice so he sometimes just drinks one of these with a meal.

I have no proof but I do believe that the nutrition he gets from the shakes have helped keep him healthy...
09-16-2014, 09:10 AM   #17
tnthudson
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
...I have no proof but I do believe that the nutrition he gets from the shakes have helped keep him healthy...
Wow, thanks! My son will be going to college in two years, so laying a groundwork like this now would help. Great info, thanks!
I'm going to post a thread asking about fatigue, also, so this idea (Boost) may help with that as well.
09-16-2014, 09:16 AM   #18
Tesscorm
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It may??? Fatigue is often associated with anemia/low HGB (but cud have other causes as well), and this is common in those with crohns. Do you know if his HGB is low?
09-16-2014, 09:43 AM   #19
tnthudson
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
I think his bloodwork is fine at this point, he gets it tested fairly often and I think the last few times have been normal. He is still having some issues with fatigue, possible blood in stool and occasional accidents/near accidents. We're seeing the GI again next week for the first time since starting Remicade (he's had 2 doses, plus weekly shots of Otrexup). So it will be interesting to see what things look like then.
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