Severe Reaction to Flu Shot

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Luna's Grandma
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/8/2010 3:43 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi My name Michelle, I have been following this forum for the past nine months after becoming a new member of the chronic pain world in December of 09. Even though this is my first post, I feel like I know you all! I will post an intro later, but wanted to share my experience after having my first flu shot last week. I suffer from chronic pancreatitis due to pancreas divisium (it did not develop correctly) and am seeing a rheumatoligist in two weeks because my doctor suspects I have an auto-immune disease, which as of right now he has diagnosed my symptoms as polymyalgia. Whew, that a mouth full! I went last Thursday to see my doctor because of severe muscle, joint pain, blurry vision, etc. While I was there he suggested I get this years flu shot because I work with the public, and because of my health the last thing I needed was a bad case of the flu, so I agreed to have the shot. My arm was sore the next day, but other than my usual pain I was having a pretty good day. By the end of the day I started to feel really bad, severe headache, extreme muscle pain, and by Saturday evening I could hardly get out of bed. I continued to go downhill all weekend, and Monday morning I went back to my doctor. My blood pressure was off the charts (for me), my pulse was erratic, going between 140-160 beats per minute, I was having trouble walking due to the pain and weakness in my legs. and my head felt like it was going to explode. I honestly do not ever remember being that sick in my whole life. My doctor immediately ordered an EKG, tons of blood work and gave me a shot of diluadid for the pain. My EKG came back normal, my white cell count was quite low, and a couple other of my blood tests came back abnormal. He gave me the choice of being admitted into the hospital for pain control and monitering, or go home and stay in close contact with him should my condition worsen. I hate being in the hospital, so my sister offered to stay with me until I got better. Today is the first day I have been able to get out of bed for more than just using the bathroom, I have been taking 10mg oxycodone every three hours, and have been on medication to control my blood pressure. I have numbness in my hands and feet, and still have difficulty walking. This was the first time I have had a flu shot(and the last!) It is hard to believe that up until last December I was a healthy 48 year old woman, on no medication and maybe I'd get a nasty cold once a year. I just wanted to post my experience because when they hand you all the paperwork to sign about side effects, I just signed away, barely glancing at it all. Big mistake!! I go back to my doctor next week, hopefully this will have been a bad reaction to the flu shot, and I will be much better by then. I am so blessed to have a PCP that is not afraid to treat chronic pain, and has always been willing to work with me. After months of reading all the suffering some of you have endured at the hands of doctors too afraid or unwilling to treat chronic pain, I know how very lucky I am to have him as my doctor.

So a big HELLO to you all, and I can not tell you how much hope this forum has given me over these past nine months. I have no idea why I did not join sooner, but better late than never, right?! yeah

Thanks for listening...Michelle

Lindaloo
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 1711
   Posted 10/8/2010 7:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Michelle,

I am very very sorry you had such a bad experience with the flu shot. I have never had one either and don't know if I ever will. I am very afraid of the side effects, more afraid than of getting the flu, it seems.

I congratulate you for posting. Please continue to post so we can get to know you as well. As you know by now we have a great group of people here. They are all very caring and informative as well.

So welcome to the forum and again thanks for posting. We look forward to getting to know you.

God bless and continue to feel better.

Lindaloo
Co-Moderator Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia Forums
 
Believe in yourself.  Be kind to fellow humans and animals.  Take time to smell the flowers and the coffee.
And by all means, when you are down, ask me for help.  I will be there.
 
Linda

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 8260
   Posted 10/8/2010 10:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Did you let your doctor know you thought this was a reaction to the flu shot???
Try taking some benadryl to see if that helps, usually for a reaction benadryl is
what is used to get the reaction in control in ER's they give it to you by IV...
If the benadryl helps then you'll know if it was a reaction to the injection or something you ate..
I sure hope your feeling better soon, nice to meet you and
don't be afraid of the rheumy, they are good doctors, I see one and mine is very nice,
He'll examine all your joints and get a lot of blood work done...
(((((((((((((((((((((((((((Michelle))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
healing hugz hope you posts more often...
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********

Luna's Grandma
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/8/2010 11:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the warm welcome Lindaloo and Chartreux. I am doing a little better today, and yes Chartreux I am taking benydryl. Thank you for the kind words and I hope you all had great weekend! Michelle

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3305
   Posted 10/9/2010 9:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Luna's Grandma
Wecome to the forum! Yes Please do the introduction threat, share with us what ever you are comfortable with sharing,  especially about your pain, when, where how long, and how it started, at least some of the usual stuff!  I am glad you finally decided  to start posting and join our family here on the chronic pain forum!  As for your Flu shot it is possible that the shot was the cause of your symptoms, but again, with your other on going syptoms, it might not have been the Flu Shot at all! I do know that "the shot" often gets a bum wrap, and gets blamed for allot of unwarranted things ! I am not saying that is your case, but untill you can find out whether you are allergic to it, or just can not tollerate the Flu Shot. I would strongly advise that you not quit getting them in the future years!  This of couse is just my oppinion, but vaccinations do so much more good than harm, and they do save many more lives than what many people know, and far, far, far, more people would be sick and dying, than the small minority that have a bad experience with taking the shot! By getting the Vaccination you are not only preventing yourself from getting it, you are also not spreading it to others.  But that applies to all Vaccinations!  OK I will get off my Soap Box stand now!!! smilewinkgrin
 
I again Welcome you Luna's Grandma, and I really do hope that, now that you have broken the ice, so to speak and posted! I hope you will continue to post, and become an active member of our family!
 
I do wish YOU well!
 
White Beard
Moderator Chronic Pain
After spending nearly 22 1/2 years in the USAF, I retired in Sept, 1991. I then went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, and I worked on Oncology and then a Med Surg Unit, I became disabled in late 1999 and was approved SSD in early 2002!-- DDD, With herniated Disk at T-12 and L4-5. C5-C6 ACDF in Sep 2009, C6-C7 ACDF in Mar 1985, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications:Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV I am White Beard with a White Beard!

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 12402
   Posted 10/9/2010 9:39 AM (GMT -6)   
I, too, get a mild reaction to the flu shot. My arm hurts when I get mine for about two days. I don't tense up, but it still hurts for a couple of days. It feels like I strained the muscles.
Joy

vestabula
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2786
   Posted 10/9/2010 9:58 AM (GMT -6)   

I had severe vertigo after my last two flu shots and will never get another one.  I learned my reaction was from sulfites (which I am allergic to) in the preparation.  People seem to be concerned about the serum itself causing side effects when in fact many times it is the other stuff they add to preserve it.

Donna


Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3538
   Posted 10/9/2010 8:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I get allergic reactions to flu shots and take Benadryl. You have to take it several times over at least a couple of days.

It's the same for me with pneumonia shot, probably others. The allergen has nothing to do with what the shot is for; it's the gelatin and preservatives (especially sulfite). This is why kids react to the MMR vaccine.

I have to watch for gelatin and sulfite in foods and other medicines, including over-the-counter. It's in some brands of liquid Benadryl and IV Benadryl, but not the tablets.
Alcie
 
 

Retired Mom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1752
   Posted 10/10/2010 7:24 AM (GMT -6)   
My daughter and I both got the flu shot last week....after waiting an hour in an EMPTY health department. I guess they weren't in the mood to give shots :( Anyway, neither of us had a problem at all. She was a little more sore the next day that I was, but she has smaller muscles and she tensed up some. Tylonol was all it took to settle it down. I'd way rather have a sore arm for a day or two than have that flu. I always end up in the hospital with the flu and it goes in to pneumonia every time.

I did not know flu shots had sulfites, though. I'm supposed to be allergic to sulfites and have had multiple reactions to sulfites, but I can still eat seafood (except tuna and salmon). I used to love them, but they both make me very sick now. Are there different types or strains of sulfites? All sulfa makes me extremely ill, but apparently some sulfites are different than others. I don't really understand it all.
Retired Mom

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 12402
   Posted 10/10/2010 2:07 PM (GMT -6)   
It's day three since I got both the pnuemonia and flu shot and my upper arms are still sore like someone punched them.
Does this happen to anyone else?
Joy

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 8260
   Posted 10/10/2010 7:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Michelle, I hope your doing much better and that the reaction is gone, for you...
Joy, can you take the dye free/ Benadryl? might help, if your arm is still sore tomorrow maybe call the doctor to
see what he/she might suggest , I would suggest a tylenol but you might already be taking
a pain medicine with tylenol in it so I don't suggest that here...(warning to all if you are taking vicodin or norco
please don't add tylenol unless you ask your doctor first, too many things out there on the market that have added
tylenol in it, like thera flu as you could over dose on tylenol without knowing it...)
Joy, I sure hope your feeling better soon, I sincerely mean this...
((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Michelle & Joy))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
gentle healing hugz to you both
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3538
   Posted 10/10/2010 8:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Regular Tylenol tablets aren't preserved with sulfite. It's not the dye in the liquids, it's the preservatives and gelatin that contain the sulfite. Sulfa isn't sulfite, but some people don't process it either. I have gotten sick with pain, local and arthritis-like, plus fever and flu-like symptoms from flu shots twice, pneumonia once, other immunizations in the past. I've had quick relief with Benadryl tablets, but have to take them every 4 hours or so for a couple of days to get past the reaction. If you don't like being sleepy, try Alevert or another antihistamine.

I wash all my fish and shrimp to get rid of the sulfite spray. Fish doesn't have natural sulfite, but pork does and upsets my stomach. If I eat barbecued spare ribs I end up with severe stomach pain and tachycardia so bad I can't get to the car.

Sulfite seems to be possibly an acquired allergy.
Alcie
 
 

Luna's Grandma
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/14/2010 2:32 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for all your informative comments and the welcomes! Yes, Whitebeard that was my first flu shot. I am still having severe muscle and joint pain, but I had that before I got the shot. Only now it is much, much worse. I am scheduled Monday to see the Rheumatologist (sp?) I had to go back to work on Saturday and boy has that been fun!! I practically limp home each night. The icing on the cake is that I called my doctor yesterday for refills on my medications, and he is out until tomorrow. The on call doctor at my HMO would not refill them because he said my doctor had not left a "Plan of action" in my chart. So lucky me, I have went without pain medication since yesterday, the first time since January shocked I have a 9am appointment with my PCP thank heavens! Thank you for all your kind words.

Sending healing karma to all of you,

Michelle

Chartreux
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 8260
   Posted 10/14/2010 5:29 AM (GMT -6)   
The Rheumy Doctor will order up bloodwork and maybe even do a hand MRI as RA usually
is found in the hands, feet ect...it can effect many other joints as well, but typically
a hand mri is done...make sure to take a lists of the medicines your on, even supplements
and a list of questions, also the first appointment make sure to get there 20 minutes
early for filling out lots of paperwork, including your pcp and his address, ect....
Keep us posted as to how that goes, I was just recently dx'd with RA....
(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Michelle)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
The RA forum here is great...healing hugz and hopes you don't have RA...
**********************************************
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...

********>^..^<********>^..^<********>^..^<********

ReactiveConstellationNE
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 10/14/2010 8:07 PM (GMT -6)   
There are a lot of things that could be....what you might want to look into is Reactive Arthritis AKA Reiter Syndrome. An acute attack can result from an "insult" to the immune system, and those with other auto-immune conditions are prone to them. Some "expert" docs seem to think that Reiter's is rare, but I have come to believe that it's far more common, in various forms, than is currently acknowledged. Lots of people are being given diagnoses with other names when what it boils down to, is that their immune systems were unbalanced by some kind of external stimuli, usually a bout with a nasty pathogen or other severe immune stress.....and then all kinds of immune problems result, including arthritis-like pain throughout the body (often focusing on the sacro-iliac joint/lower back first, then radiating outward).
Conditions: Reactive Arthritis (AKA Reiter Syndrome), Crohn's Disease, Chronic Pelvic Inflammatory Syndrome, Sacroiliitis, Costochondritis, As Yet Unknown MS-Like Relapsing/Remitting Neuropathy, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Medications: Currently not that many are taken daily, but there are many at my disposal for part-time use. Low dose pain medication, after years at high doses. Working on innovative ways of taking lesser-known pharmaceuticals and non-prescription supplements to maximum benefit.

Hello~Kitty
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 610
   Posted 10/15/2010 3:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Luna's grandma,

There is a reason why I never get the flu shot..cause of those things happening. I got the flu last year and it wasn't the worse thing I've experienced. I rather have the flu then strep throat, which is something I get yearly since I was little.

But I read that you have pancreatic divisum, I also have that. They discovered when I Was a teenager after getting pancreatitas and almost dying once. My grandmother found out she had it when she was 65 years old, but I got to find out when I was 15...and I'm now 27 years old and I still have problems. I feel like having this problem makes being sick so much worse.

I'm sorry you had to suffer from getting the flu shot, things that should be protecting us. I just know that nothing in this world will make me get one. They say the flu shots are not suppose to make us sick, but I really they're lying. I even refused it when I was pregnant, and I did get the flu while pregnant and I made it just fine. I use to let my daughter get the flu shot when she had severe asthma when she was a toodler, but last year me and her had the flu together, and it was kinda fun, we laid on the couch watching tv and sleeping, and of course complaining together, she's outgrown her asthma so it was no big deal. But that's just the way I do things, people with severe health issues should of course get them, and as severe as I think my problems are, I don't think any of them warrent getting the flu shot...so I stay away...

-kitty
DX-Pancreatic Divisum, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Myofascial Syndrome, Migraines, Allergies W/Asthma, Depression W/Anxiety/Panic disorder, Lower back Disc issues

tulips
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 105
   Posted 10/16/2010 7:53 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi

WhT exactly does it feel like. I had a reaction in 2003 to flu shot that has made my life hell to this day. I had some of the symptoms already but the flu shot took them to a million. They thought it was guillian barre
(serious reaction) I have muscle spasm and cramps from head to toe
Nuropathy stuff like burning, tingling. Pins z d needles
It activated my nerve s or something.

Tulips

Scaredofthis
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted Today 11:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there,

Unfortunately, I am joining this discussion. Last Thursday I was talked into getting the flu shot by my doctor. On Friday I started to get bad muscle pains in the muscles I had worked out the day before. (I am an avid tennis player and have been in very good shape throughout most of my 41 years, exercising 4-6 times a week.) On Saturday morning I worked out my legs only to get severe pain by the afternoon. It lasted through Sunday, but felt a little better on Monday. I went through with a tennis match I had scheduled Monday night only to have intense muscle pain about one hour after the match was over. I remember telling my wife that I felt like I was being poisoned. On Tuesday I took off work and rested for much of the morning. When I woke from a nap, I noticed that my body was becoming covered in hives. Within an hour almost my entire body was covered. I was advised by my doctor to take Benedryl. This did little to help and after going to bed I woke up at around 11pm with a severely swollen upper lip. The oncall doctor told me to go to the ER. At the ER they gave me a steroid shot and an order for Prednisone and Rantidine. It is now Friday and since then I have been getting hives covering my body and then going away. I am off to see my dermatalogist now to see if he can help. I too look like I may have a team of doctors because of a "helpful" flu shot.

I'll keep posting as I get new information.

merrygirl
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 702
   Posted Today 7:26 PM (GMT -6)   
couldnt read all the replies, but make sure you get tested for LYme disease. It is a nasty bug,


How are you feeling now?

I got a shot this year and luckily I am ok.

Hope your better
Chronic Lyme Disease,Fibromyalgia, CFS, PCOS, sleep apnea, hypothyroidism, type 2 diabetes, bulging discs to name a few

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3538
   Posted Today 8:43 PM (GMT -6)   
If you react to flu shots you will likely react to pneumonia shots too. They have the same preservative and gelatin. You could also react to other immunizations. There are skin tests for some shots, but I don't know if they have all the ingredients that people are reacting to.
Alcie
 
 
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