Self-Monitoring: How to recognise JIA symptoms


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.



Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.