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Hi everyone, I need opinions on what to do. I have to finish my internship to graduate at a healthcare facility or hospital. My problem is that I started on metho about 3 weeks ago and I don't know if it is safe for me to be around so many sick people! Also another problem was that my immune system was already suppressed before starting immune suppressant/methotrexate. I've had shingles and bronchitis a lot. I was even tested for HIV & cancer (negative), but all rheum could come up with was that the lupus/sjogrens was causing the decreased immunity. I'm so scared of picking up infections like MRSA or pneumonia, but I really need this to graduate. Has anyone else worked in healthcare while on immune suppressants?
 

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Hi,

As you probably know everyone who's got lupus has got a slightly differnet disease as we're all so different. This means that where one person might not get infections on metho, another would. What exactly is low in your immune system? Would that make you more prone to infections? YOu need to ask your Rheumatologist and if they don't know the answer you need to get properly evaluated by an Immunologist. There are things they can do depending on what part of the immune system is 'weak'.

Good Luck
cathy
 

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We have had other members who are working in the healthcare profession while on immunusuppressants without problems, and of course some will have problems. You will not be immunosuppressed to the extent that someone following organ transplant would be, but a lot depends on your personal health issues (e.g. are you IgA or IgM deficient for example along with your lupus?).

However, if you are careful with washing hands religiously, and avoid touching your eyes/nose/mouth, that will go a long way to avoid picking up any infections. If there is any way you can have a choice in the location to minimize any risk to you (such as avoiding a pediatric clinic!) that would be good. But really, this is the best time of year to do such a rotation and it sounds like it will be only for a few weeks? I'm sure you can get through it without too much difficulty. I hope so!
 

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I also work in healthcare, well worked in healthcare and on Methotrexate. I worked on a medical assessment unit and was sick all the time. I have always been the type of person who gets everything. My last infection, which finally took me out of work for the foreseeable future was a fungal chest infection. I was treated with 5 different types of antibiotics but nothing seemed to work, I still coughed up green sputum and felt dreadful with a fever and my WBC was very high. Anyway, my GP said I may not have a bacterial chest infection; it could be fungal and treated me with Diflucan. I took the 1 pill and within 2 days I started feeling a bit better. I started thinking how I may have picked that one up and it dawned on me I had a lady in isolation who had a fungal chest infection and was coughing and snotting on me. As soon as I cleared up one infection I got another. This went of for months and finally the doctor said no more and took me out of work. I wasn’t just taken out because of the infections, I have severe tendonitis of the feet and knees which was getting progressively worse.

Now, I can’t say for sure it was the ill patients and Methotrexate that caused the constant infections or was it just one of those things. Needless to say, my doctor says I can not go back to work in a hospital setting because I keep getting sick. I am thinking of going back to night school to pick up a few courses to teach health and social care to students age 14-19 but the doctor won’t let me do anything yet. The next possible date she will allow me to return to anything is in September but she says it is doubtful, she thinks it could be a few years. She feels I need to heal first and let my body recover because I was so stubborn and refused to leave work for 7 months while in a flare causing a lot of damage to my systems. It came to the point I could no longer go on. I worked double shifts, 3 a week and had the 4 days off so I could recover. I finally felt and learned what true exhaustion meant! So my days now consist of needle point as I can’t do much more, walking is a chore and very painful. I have to rely on my husband and daughters to help out. My days of endless energy are gone and at first it was hard to get use to doing nothing but I am getting use to it and not liking it.

I hope you do well in your studies and you can continue with them being on Methotrexate.

Stacie
 
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