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Flu shot or not!
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Flu shot or not!

With flu season upon us do we get the flu shot or not? I am newly diagnosed and do not see my neuro till Oct 8. Is it generally recommended that we get the shot? They do them for free at work next month and I was thinking about getting it done.  What does everyone think?
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23 Comments Post a Comment
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1034549_tn?1255428213
The best thing is to ask you neurologist or PC Dr. if it OK for you to get it and to ensure it will not interfere with your meds.

If OK I will be getting the Flu shot and H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible. I work in a blood lab and all the patients are there for blood work to see what they are sick from as well as if they have the H1N1 virus even though they are told to stay home.

The medication I am on suppresses my immune system to keep my MS from progressing and I will have a harder time this year beating a cold or flu. I have already noticed if I cut myself or get it blister it take 2-3 times as long for it to heal.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm sure this issue will be coming up often during the next few months.

The answer is that MSers *should* get regular flu and swine flu shots. Not the nasal infused kind, because that contains live virus, which we need to avoid at all costs. Regular injections do not, and they're fine for us.

MS in general and the 4 DMD drugs do not compromise the immune system. Whether or not we are on a CRAB drug, we are no more likely to come down with flu than anyone else. But if we do get it, that will stimulate our immune systems for good and for bad. For good, because we can fight off the flu--for bad because in that process our non-discriminating immune systems can start attacking our myelin as well, causing new MS activity. So go for the best chance of avoid a relapse by getting the shots.

Anyone who is on an immune-suppressing drug should not get a flu shot unless your neuro specifically orders  it. That's a whole different set of circumstances.

ess
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572651_tn?1333939396
Ess is so right about this one - there is pretty much unanimous agreement that the flu vaccine is a good thing for all of us with MS.  Of course, check with your doctor to make sure that is the recommended course.

If you want to read more about the flu vaccine, search this community and you will find lots of others posts from previous years on this subject.

be well, stay well...
Lulu
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382218_tn?1341185087
I do plan to get the regular seasonal flu shot which is available at my workplace.  I will likely also get the H1N1.  My GP has recommended both and believes any side effects from either shot are outweighed by the benefit, ie: lowered risk of a relapse triggered by infection.

I had my very first flu shot last year and had no problems with it.

BTW, H1N1 vaccination will be available to all citizens of Alberta at no charge; check with your regional health authority.  
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233622_tn?1279338505
My MS doc insists upon it!

LA
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611606_tn?1315521367
Hi There,
I think it is different for each of us.
I know a lot of people with MS receive Flu Shots yearly, but for me, My Doctor doesn't allow me to get them?  He feels they aren't something I should have..
I agree with everyone , That you need to talk to your Dr. about this and than you can decide what you want to do.
{{{{~!~}}}}
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338416_tn?1413581329
Heck yeah, especially if it's free.  I have to wonder, ShadowsSister, if your doctor knows what's best for you.

I had the flu two years ago - mild case, but I was in bed for a week with extreme pain.  Then I had a flare a week later.  Really ate up my sick time at work!  So don't mess around.
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738075_tn?1330579444
I got my seasonal shot yesterday at work.  H1N1 comes later.  So far, so good.

Cheers,
Guitar_grrrl
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611606_tn?1315521367
I can assure you that he does know what he is doing. I had a very bad reaction and ended up in the hospital... Not every one should get flu shots, it is always best to check with your Primary Care Doctor first, just because it is free doesn't mean it is best for
every one..

Have a Great Week every one and stay safe
{{{~!~}}}
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634733_tn?1316629592
You know this is interesting. I had the same conversation with my GP last week as with my dx I am offered it as a matter of protocol.

My GP said she did not believe that anyone with my dx should put anything in their body more than was necessary and that included vitamin suppliements unless there was a known deficiency or you are unable to eat!  Her attitude is flu hits mainly old people and swine flu hits mainly younger people and as I do not belong in either of those categories I am probably not at risk.

I have an apointment with my specialist nurse tomorrow, needless to say I am going to ask her opinion too and will let you know her thoughts also.

Pat
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198419_tn?1360245956
Em and All,

I'm so glad this you brought this up again because even though I know the recommendations inside and out, I've never had the flu shot, so I still ask myself, hmmm, do I go get the flu shot or not? It's madness.

Oh, those stories,  "So-and-so went and got the flu shot and then got so sick!" Then they follow it up with, "I'm never getting that shot." ha/ha..

Anyone else besides me hear people say this?  

I'm going to line it up w/the Dr. I was very sick last year with it and had the bronchitis complications along with it.  But, it will be my 1st time.

Anyone else going to line it up for the 1st time like me?

-shell
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Avatar_m_tn
I have not gotten a flu shot in over 20 years. I'm still not sure if I will get one this year or not. I should also add that in those 20 years I have not had a single cold or the flu.

Well until a few months ago that is. I caught a cold, or at least I think it was a cold, but more likely it was just my allergies acting up as this has been a rough year for pollen around here with all of the rain.

I should have an appt. with my PCP and I think I'll ask him about it.

Dennis
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648910_tn?1290666683
I have only had the flu one time in my life.  I never want to go there again.  I get my flu shot and so far I have not had any problems.  I am debating the H1N1.  I don't want the virus but I am concerned if they got the vaccine right?  I will wait and see what others are experiencing.

terry
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147426_tn?1317269232
I'm going to weigh in here.  

The official recommendation is that people with MS get the flu shots, unless advised not to by their Neurologist.  They should receive the shot and NOT the nasal mist vaccine.  The rationale behind this is that, though the shot may cause a relapse, it is nothing like the RELAPSE that a full-blown case of the flu can cause.

The real "influenza" is a terrible disease to go through.  Many people who have never had flu feel that the flu shot is "worse than the infection".  After having a real case of the flu they never feel that way again.  Just ask Shelly, lol.   Many people who say they "got the flu from the shot" actually were incubating the virus before, just as, or just after they got the shot.  It takes 3 days to even begin making antibodies for protection.

If we look at the ability of the flu versus the flu shot with respect to their ability to stimulate a relapse, on a scale from 1 to 10 the shot would be about a three and the flu would get an 11.  The difference is some inactivated virus in one injection versus the infection's ability to mulitply itself million's of times in the body with each virus able to stimulate the immune system -- over and over and over again for several days.

I asked my neurologist, whom I respect immensely if we should get flu shots.  He virtually shouted, "YES!."  He also recommended that we get the "Shingles" (Zoster) vaccine.  A case of Shingles can cause a whopping relapse.

You all know that from my background as a pediatrician and my post-doc work in immunology, I am a believer in immunizations.

For those of you who have been advised by your neurologists not to get protected against - well, you need to make your own decisions.

Anyone who says that they are not at risk for a virus that has pandemic potential is mistaken.  MANY adults have gotten the swine flu.  The surprise in the early stages of this epidemic is the percentages of young adults who have gotten it and died.   But it is NOT limited to any age group.  The flu strains that jump species (like the swine and avian flu) are far more deadly because our species has not seen them before or even any "kissin' cousins" of them.  So we don't have any immunity at all.  For many of the yearly flu strains, they are just a small change from strains our bodies have seen before, we can mount at least a small immune response, so we are merely sick for two weeks, but can recover.

The current H1N1 is sizing up to be a lot like the global pandemic of 1917 (year?) which killed 20,000,000 people.  Yes, we have better medical treatment now, but a true, out-of-control epidemic will overwhelm our medical abilities.

For people with severe incapacitation from their MS, that person's doctors should decide about the shot.  If you have a doctor who is an immunization skeptic, then you should examine your beliefs about the practice of immunizing  with that in mind.  I have seen people die from all the things we immunize against.  I am very clear on why we do it and why I recommend it.

Quix
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198419_tn?1360245956
In the interest of flu-season - giving this a bump. Thank you so much Doc Q for wrapping this up for us.

I was suppose to call and line mine up w/the MD today, but let the day get away with me.

I'm calling on Monday to do it!
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921525_tn?1248126287
I just got my flu shot last week, which was both to my interest and the suggestion of my ms nurse and gp. I have only had a flu shot a few times previously, the most recent being a few years ago when I was working in a school with small children. Now I work with the general public, and as often as I am sneezed on, coughed on, and just grossed out by some things that occur - I thought it would be well worth it. Also, I am well aware there is a large amount of swine flu in my area already, so I would rather be protected if possible!

I had the regular injection style done, I have no interest in the live virus being put in my body. It went well other than feeling much more tired for a few days afterward. So far no one seems to know anything about the swine flu vaccine, though I keep inquiring. I have heard people say that they refuse to get it, because they heard it can cause paralysis.... but any medical company is required to report any adverse events occuring with someone who took their med, regardless of whether it is likely to be caused by the med or completely unrelated... so I'm going to have faith that it is fairly safe based on all the other individuals who have tested it safely.
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667078_tn?1316004535
I am getting any flu shot I can. The head Flu Dr. in our state said if you have Neurological problems you need to get the H1N1 on the news last night.

If I get sick I can't afford hospitalization or to go to an ER.

I want the shingle vaccine since I had chicken pox twice as a child but my PCP won't give it to me. My MS nurse suggested it.

Alex
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1025701_tn?1257176034
Thank you so much for the input everyone, I think I should go with the shots. I can't tell you all how much your thoughts on this are appreciated. This is just a great online community.

Be well all
Emily
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867582_tn?1311630997
Hi, all,

Well, my father-in-law was killed by the swine flu shot in the late 70s.  That's when I began to learn more about vaccines.  

The current swine flu vaccine has not been fully tested because of the great rush to provide it to meet the demand.  Our government has granted the pharmaceutical company who makes the vaccine total immunity, total protection from legal repercussions arising from whatever harm the vaccine may cause.

In essence, the makers of the current swine flu vaccine will be completing their testing of it by observing the effects it has on those who choose to be vaccinated with it.  Good luck all.  I hope you do better than my father-in-law did!

WAF
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1056851_tn?1318724578
Hi All

Just came back from the shot.  I am Dx, if  I see any side effects I will post them.

Mustang
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751951_tn?1406636463
There's probably a newer thread to ressurrect, or maybe I should start a new one, but I think Dr. Q's input here implies that a flu shot "could" cause a relapse, but that a real case of the flu that could have been headed off by the shot almost certainly "will" cause relapse.  Well, I hadn't realized it, but I thought that my current experience, which I have concluded is definitely a relapse, followed this year's shot by a week or two.  HOWEVER, I went back & looked at my calenar, and the symptoms began almost a week BEFORE I got the flu shot.  Can't blame the shot.

Not sure that this means anythin to anyone, but it might suggest to me that our memories are fallible, and it's ossible that many of the anecdotal cases we've all heard of someone suffering X after being immunized for Y aren't really as connected as they might be remembered.  I remain a strong believer in the flu shot, after getting one every year for perhaps the past 15 to 20.

Just the random thoughts from an aging brain; file as desired.
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1045086_tn?1332130022
SCROLL UP EIGHT RESPONSES to read what Quixotic1 had to say on the topic.  (Or fifteen down from the top)

The basics from her:
"The official recommendation is that people with MS get the flu shots, unless advised not to by their Neurologist.  They should receive the shot and NOT the nasal mist vaccine.  The rationale behind this is that, though the shot may cause a relapse, it is nothing like the RELAPSE that a full-blown case of the flu can cause."

"I asked my neurologist, whom I respect immensely if we should get flu shots.  He virtually shouted, "YES!."  He also recommended that we get the "Shingles" (Zoster) vaccine.  A case of Shingles can cause a whopping relapse."

"You all know that from my background as a pediatrician and my post-doc work in immunology, I am a believer in immunizations."

"For people with severe incapacitation from their MS, that person's doctors should decide about the shot.  If you have a doctor who is an immunization skeptic, then you should examine your beliefs about the practice of immunizing  with that in mind.  I have seen people die from all the things we immunize against.  I am very clear on why we do it and why I recommend it."

For more details read her entire post.

================================

Thanks Doc Quix.  I have lots of contact with a variety of people in a public setting.  I know that viruses and bacteria travel between people before any of us know they are around.  So I definitely get my flu vaccine every year.  I got the Shingles vaccine this year too (now that I'm so old and susceptible).  

I've had NO problems with illness or flares after vaccines.  Sometimes I have experienced a SLIGHT increase in Copaxone site reactions for a few days.  I believe that is part of the body's immune response triggered by the vaccine.  It's pretty insignificant other than reassuring me that my body is building the defenses I asked it to.

Somehow, it does always seem I'm in a post steroid use waiting period when vaccines are due.  I usually have to postpone them a few weeks.  Oh well, no use rushing in with a vaccine if I've just told my immune system to slow itself down.  Can't make antibodies that way.

I wonder if first timers feel sick because of the interferons the body produces naturally in response to the vaccine and the immunity building process?  I've been getting the flu vaccine for years now and aside from minimal soreness at the injection site I wouldn't remember I'd had it the next day.

For most of us.....YES! to the shot.  No to the mist.  
Here's to a healthy winter.
(Hope you got yours Shell.)
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1337734_tn?1336238191
I am prepping to begin taking Gilenya. This drug  weakens the immune system so both my neuro and PCP highly reopened that I take the flu shot and Shingles vaccine before beginning Gilenya. I just finished all my vaccines. I have taken the flu shot every year for the last 10 years because I taught in an elementary school and I was always surrounded by sick children. I never once got the flu!

I know that any time I do get sick or have an infection, it tends to worsen my MS symptoms so I can't imagine what the flu or Shingles would do to me and thanks to the vaccines I feel much more protected.

Just a thought,
Deb
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