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Should I get a flu shot?

  • By chebbot

    I don’t really think the flu shot is necessary for most people. But I do have a pretty poor immune system and work at a daycare. When I get sick, it takes a really long time for me to recover, and I usually keep the cough for months. My migraines are also a lot worse when I’m sick or congested. It’s not going to keep me from getting colds and it doesn’t block every strain, but it’s likely that it’ll go around at work. So is it worth doing, or would I react badly because of my immune system?

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  • By Lisa Robin Benson Moderator

    Hi Chebbot,

    I personally do not have any known immune system problems, but I do have a reaction to the flu shot every time I get it. The reaction is benign in that it does not lead to any problems, but I feel sick and achy for about 2-3 days and need to stay home and rest if possible. For a few days after that I can still not feel quite right. Because of my reaction to the flu shot, I have had many discussions with people in the migraine community as well as my doctor about the shot and consider carefully every year if I will get it or not, and if I do I time it to a few days I am less busy (it’s hard to do!).

    The general consensus in the migraine community is that everyone reacts differently to the shot, so you won’t know how your body will react until you get it. However even with the type of reaction I get, it is preferable to the actual flu.

    The flu shot is a dead virus, so you should not get the flu from it. However, since you do have immune system issues, I would check with your doctor, or even the pharmacist who gives out the shot, to see if it would be safe for you.

    Here is some general information about the flu shot put out by the centers for disease control I would recommend you read: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm

    Hope this helps you!
    Lisa

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  • By chebbot

    Thanks! I didn’t mention that the first time I got one (a few years ago) I had a reaction. I was already at the doctor for bronchitis, and I got one. I felt kinda crappy for a few days. I didn’t get the flu, but I felt like I had a cold, and the aches too. I figured it was just because I was already worn out from the bronchitis. So thats what makes me a little nervous…I haven’t had the actual flu in a while but from what I remember it was much worse than the reaction.

    Thanks, I’ll talk to my doctor about it

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  • By Lisa Robin Benson Moderator

    Hi Chebbot,

    That’s the reaction I always get. Grr! However I have been told to not get it if you are still fighting any kind of infection, so perhaps it will be different this time. Wishing you the best of luck!

    Lisa

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  • By solove0611

    Hi Chebbot!

    I agree with Lisa in that typically if you are fighting any type of infection it is a bad idea to get the flu shot at that appointment (maybe wait until all of your original symptoms are gone). Until last year I had very mixed thoughts about the shot and kind of just took a “to each his own” type of attitude. However, last year my grandmother got the flu and died from complications, and she had NOT gotten the vaccine. Now let me say that she wasn’t the picture of healthy to begin with, but she did not have any major medical issues. When she first got admitted to the hospital it was the flu, they kept her a few days and sent her home. After being home around a week she kept not feeling good. Eventually her symptoms settled in her chest. This caused bronchitis that settled into pneumonia, and so on, until she ended up on a ventilator and eventually we had to make the agonizing decision to let her go. I am DEFINATELY not saying a flu shot would have saved her life, there is no way of knowing that, however maybe if she would have had it, she could have fought the original issues off? I would talk to your doctor and tell them your concerns and how you typically feel after getting the shot and see what he or she has to say. Hope this gave you some insight. Good luck no matter which avenue you choose 🙂

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