Immunocompromised, Autoimmune diseases, and Adult JRA Remission: What it means for Social Distancing in the time of COVID-19

My husband asked me an intriguing question last night.

“If you are in clinical remission for your JRA, does that make you still immunocompromised?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
He continued to explain, “as in, are you always immunocompromised because of your autoimmune disease? Or does it just stop forever when you go into remission?”

I said that I dont entirely know the answer to that even though I have been living with autoimmune diseases and Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis for my whole life. My assumption was most likely I have some form of immunocompromization. This is typically manifested in the fact that I can get sick easily, more frequent, longer, and usually more difficult to get rid of. Since this question got my critial thinking going, I endeavoured to find an answer in the only way I know how, through research!

What I sought out to do was first to provide a collection of definitions that can sometimes be used interchangibly, confusing the general populace. For example, Immunology, immunocompromised, immunodeficient all look very similar. They use the root word “immun-” which comes from the Latin etymological root immunis for “exempt”. Ironically, you dont always see these together or always clarified. Another confusing term whos definition varies sometimes by personal definition or case by case basis is remission, especially for rheumatic diseases like Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis. There is even a noted difference between remission and clinical remission which is also usually obsure in generalized information available.

My hope in performing this research is to clarify these interrelated definitions, what they mean for someone like me who is an adult with JRA in clinical remission, and figure out if I should be concerned if I am at all immunocompromised anymore. The answer for the most part is yes, I should be concerned about being immunocompromised, to a point.

[Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and I am not providing or soliciting medical advice, I am just researching my own situation.]

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