ask: Can a Flu shot lead to Shingles?

By Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter
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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

This is precisely what happened to me. I'd never had any issues with shingles and had also never taken the flu vaccine. I was urged to do so and shortly afterwards(maybe 1 wk) I developed terrible pain in my back which turned into a rash. The rash was diagnosed as shingles.

October 5, 2015 - 4:54am
EmpowHER Guest

I just got the "extra-strength" flu shot on Thursday, (apparently recommended for those of us over 65) and on Friday evening my right lower leg began to itch and get very red. Now its Sunday, with the itching and redness getting worse. I will see the doc tomorrow, but have a very sneaking suspicion that I've got shingles. My older brother got two bouts of shingles in the relative same location several years ago. I am 67 and got the vaccine against getting shingles when I was 60, go figure! I am otherwise a very healthy individual, taking no medications, only vitamin supplements. So my inclination is to think that like several others have said, the flu vaccine kick-started my white blood cells to fight the "flu" but also somehow provided an opening for the dormant shingles virus to reactivate.

September 20, 2015 - 5:03am
EmpowHER Guest

28 year old male. Never sick. Had the flu jab, few days later shingles. Everyone denies the link.. For me it's simple, flu shot basically gave me the flu virus (dead) my body kicked into action to try and build up immunity. During this period the shingle virus which is dormant in my system flared up.

August 20, 2015 - 3:31pm
EmpowHER Guest

I was 17, with in 3 days of receiving flu mist I had a zoster rash (diagnosed). With in 24 hours of that diagnosis, I had meningitis that was also swelling the menenges around my brain. The spinal tap revealed both red and white blood cells, which is unusual for viral meningitis, however the culture was negative for bacteria/fungi; it was confirmed to be from zoster. ICU stay for five days on dilaudid....that was my spring break senior year. I've had the flu shot many times with no I'll effects, but I'll not be getting the flu mist ever again, nor will my family. It was 2006 when this happened, and even then I knew it had to be the mist (afterall, I very distinctly remember asking up during a blood draw at which point the nurse informed me that I was being tested for AIDS, leukemia, and a variety of immune compromising illnesses, as 17 year old do not usually get shingles with out cause). I wonder if/when the CDC or nhi will do a study.

February 2, 2015 - 11:50pm
EmpowHER Guest

I received the flu shot this year, and 10 days after developed SHINGLES.
Had a 5 inch diameter circular pink welt that was itchy at site of flu shot injection. Nurse said it was a topical reaction.
You have no idea how comforting it is to read all these accounts!!!

December 11, 2014 - 3:50am
EmpowHER Guest

My daughter of 11 has just been diagnosed with shingles following her first nasal flu vaccine three weeks ago, she showed flu like symptoms a week after having the vaccination & now shingles! Has been a very fit & healthy young person up to having the vaccination I think that it has effected her immune system which has now resulted in shingles, I am going to report it as a side effect as this is too many comments to be coincidence!

December 6, 2014 - 12:27pm
Erin Kennedy HERWriter Blogger

Here is an interesting article posted this week on EmpowHER that talks about the possible connection between the flu shot and shingles: Check it out to learn facts about the flu and shingles, as well as misconceptions that link the two.


December 4, 2014 - 11:50am
EmpowHER Guest

I had a flu shot on Tuesday and noticed the shingles rash on Saturday, 4 days later on my lower left torso over my ribs. I am a healthy 55 year old with very little stress. I started anti viral drug on Saturday and the rash has not increased in size but is still itchy but no pain.

November 24, 2014 - 7:03am
EmpowHER Guest

My dad got shingles after the 2009 flu shot

November 21, 2014 - 9:11am
EmpowHER Guest

The first and only time I had the flu shot I was 19. Developed shingles on my right leg less than a week later. Have not had the flu shot or shingles since. My mother is a pharmacist who is certified to give immunizations, she insists that the shingles was already brewing in my system and the shot just lowered my immune system enough for it to emerge. I want to believe her but it seems fishy to me. What 19 year old gets shingles? Especially when that was the first time getting the flu shot....

November 19, 2014 - 11:56am
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