Self-monitoring: How to recognize JIA symptoms

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It is important to know when you need to call the doctor and how to monitor for any increase or change in your symptoms.

When to call your doctor

Call your doctor immediately in any of the following situations:

  • You have sudden, unexplained swelling, redness, and severe pain in any joint or joints. You might be unable to walk or move your joints.
  • You may also have a fever together with your joint findings. This could mean that you have an emergency condition called septic arthritis, which is an infection in the joint. These symptoms are different (usually much worse) from those you would have with a normal flare-up in JIA.
  • Your eyes are red or in pain or you have blurred vision or cannot see.
  • You develop chickenpox and are taking arthritis medications stronger than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Call your doctor if any of the following symptoms continue for more than two days:

  • You have unexplained fever [more than 38.5°C (101.3°F)] with or without a pink skin rash.
  • You are taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and develop stomach pain not clearly related to stomach flu, but possibly related to medication use. Other stomach symptoms might include heartburn, nausea or not feeling like eating. Also call the doctor if you experience bloody, black or tar-like stools.
  • You develop joint pain and skin rash after a sore throat.

The importance of regular JIA and eye check-ups

It is important to monitor changes in the JIA on a regular basis. By having regular check-ups, you and your health care team can track your progress and make appropriate changes to your treatment.

It is also important to have your eyes checked regularly. Having regular check-ups with your eye doctor helps to monitor for signs of an eye inflammation called uveitis. If you remember back to Sessions 2 and 8, you may not feel any symptoms if you have uveitis, which is why it is so important to have regular check-ups. Seeing your eye doctor regularly will also help reduce other complications of eye disease. Ask your rheumatologist how often you should have your eyes examined.

Managing JIA symptoms

In the previous sections, you’ve learned many different ways to manage JIA symptoms. The key to each of these strategies is to keep practicing them! Practice the techniques as often as you can, and see if it helps manage your symptoms. You might find that not all of the techniques work for you. This is why it is important to try each of the strategies at least a couple of times, to find the ones that work best for you.

Last updated: January 31st 2017