Should I get a flu shot if I have psoriasis?
If you have psoriasis, you may be
feeling especially anxious about this year’s flu season. The news
that people with a chronic medical condition should be among the
first to receive flu shots may have left you wondering if these
shots are safe for people with psoriasis. The following information
should help relieve your anxiety.
People who have psoriasis can get flu shots
While people who have psoriasis should not get the vaccine for
smallpox, they can get the 2009 - 2010:
Notice that these are both shots.
You may have heard that this year’s flu vaccines also are available
as a nasal spray.
If you are taking a medication that targets your immune system, you
should not receive either vaccine as a nasal spray. The nasal sprays
contain a live virus. Getting a live vaccine while taking a
medication that suppresses the immune system can cause serious
Not sure, talk with your dermatologist first
If you are not sure whether the medication you are taking to treat
your psoriasis targets your immune system, you should talk with your
dermatologist or rheumatologist first.
If you are taking a medication that targets your immune system,
talking with your dermatologist or rheumatologist also can help you
determine the best time for you to receive the flu shots.
Precautions help prevent side effects
Taking these precautions before getting a flu vaccine can help
reduce side effects:
Do not get
vaccinated if you have an infection.
When taking medication that
targets your immune system, always ask if a vaccine contains a
dead or live virus. You should not get a “live” vaccine if you
are taking a medication that targets the immune system. A
vaccine that contains a dead virus also may be called an
Rest assured, most people living
with psoriasis get immunizations and injections without experiencing
any side effects or worsening of their psoriasis. If you do
experience any side effects after getting a flu shot, be sure to
report this to your dermatologist. This information can help your
dermatologist plan future treatments.
Lebwohl M, Bagel J,
Gelfand JM et al. “From the Medical Board of the National
Psoriasis Foundation: monitoring and vaccinations in patients
treated with biologics for psoriasis.” Journal of the American
Academy of Dermatology January 2008; 58: 94-105.
All content solely
developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
If you are taking a
medication for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis that
targets the immune system, it is especially important
that you talk with your dermatologist or rheumatologist
before getting any vaccination. Medications that target
the immune system include: