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Can a Flu shot lead to Shingles?

By Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter October 11, 2008 - 9:42pm
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dear michelle, a 76 year old friend recently had a flu shot and developed a case of shingles. any connection? coincidental? thanxs so much


Has anyone ever heard of this or had this happen to them?


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EmpowHER Guest

Yes, it is true that you can break out in a rash after taking a flu shot. It happen to me. I got my flu shot in December. I started breaking out in these large welts on my body. They are painful and itchy.

January 22, 2016 - 4:09am
Maryann Gromisch RN Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anonymous,

It is important to differentiate a rash, caused by an allergic reaction to the influenza vaccine and the painful rash associated with shingles.

A person may develop a severe allergic reaction, such as a rash,
hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, if he or she is allergic to any ingredient in Influenza Virus Vaccine, including egg proteins or egg products.

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Although shingles can occur anywhere on your body, it most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso.

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you've had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.

Anyone who's had chickenpox may develop shingles. After you recover from chickenpox, the virus can enter your nervous system and lie dormant for years. Eventually, it may reactivate and travel along nerve pathways to your skin — producing shingles.

The reason for the encore is unclear. But it may be due to lowered immunity to infections as you grow older. Shingles is more common in older adults and in people who have weak immune systems.


January 22, 2016 - 9:41am
EmpowHER Guest

I broke out in shingles after the flu shot and I'm a healthy 31 year old man. Of course doctors deny correlation but how many coincidences do we need to have until people realize that every medical intervention has benefits but also risks.

January 2, 2016 - 7:23am
EmpowHER Guest

I am a 54 y.o. healthy female. I had my first flu shot ever on 11/19/15. Exactly 14 days later I developed a raging first time ever Shingles outbreak accompanied by Vertigo. Nevet a flu shot again. Nevet.

December 8, 2015 - 4:34pm
EmpowHER Guest

I've had shingles four times this will make five. I had the flu vaccine December 1, 2015 tonight December 4, 2015 I have broken out with the second worst shingles rash I've ever had. There must be a correlation. It's the same arm and it is traveling down the same nerve from my wrist to my upper thigh. This is going to be bad.

December 3, 2015 - 9:13pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I never had a flew shot in my life. I decided to get one. A couple of days later I get shingles. I was 47 years old in excellent health. When I discussed this possibility with the doctor they initially questioned the possibility but said nothing to the contrary. I informed them that shot could have temporarily lowered my immunity. I have been reading several comments saying the same thing.

May 22, 2016 - 6:39pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I had my flu shot on November 30, 15 and developed a severe rash fever and generally feeling awful. I have never had Shingles before but had the chicken pox as a child. Was wondering if the shot may be the trigged cause I would rather have the flu.

December 4, 2015 - 5:15pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am a 75 y/o female who has experienced shingles several times. On two occasions I got shingles after having a flu shot. Most recently I received the extra strength flu shot which is recommended for persons over 65. The next day I felt pain in my neck which I assumed was a rx from the shot. By Monday the pain had progressed into my scalp and I was diagnosed with Shingles -- again. I have been told by both my pharmacist and PCP that the flu shot does not exacerbated a shingles event. I believe it can.

November 23, 2015 - 10:11am
EmpowHER Guest

Same with me i have also developed shingles from the flu i knew something was up

November 19, 2015 - 7:59pm

I'm a 65 year old male, on a Tuesday I had an Endoscopy, 2 days later (Thursday) I had a physical and a flu shot (I had the virus shot approx. 1 year ago). On Friday evening approx. 28 hrs after my flu shot a broke out with shingles.

Certainly a coincidence due to timing, my pharmacist didn't believe there was a correlation nor did the clinic that I went the next day, Saturday.

i started getting shingles when I was 26 before anyone really new what it was; a young doctor (looked to be about 15 walked in the room (I was put in quarantine - it was bad) and he said, "you have shingles-you're hear for 10 days).

There you have it - but I do believe there is some correlation to the flu shot. Given those that get the shot are given a "dead virus" the body is saying time to get to work building anti-bodies; is it possible the system was busy starting to work that they forgot about the "chicken pox - shingles"? Sounds silly but something tells me more is going on between the 2!!!!!

Any thought?


November 17, 2015 - 5:45am
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