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Shingles Guide

Rosa Cabrera RN

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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?


Add a Comment252 Comments

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
EmpowHER Guest

26yo male, never had any illness other than the odd cold. Flu shot Tuesday, back pain Thursday, a rash that looked like bug bites Friday. Now it's Monday and I have a rash all down the left side if my torso.. scoured my house for bed bugs, freaked out that I was having a reaction to a filler in new generic psych med. Aaand although I feel awful right now, I'm actually kind of relieved it's shingles; no one wants bed bugs. Thanks to this site's contributors! And I'm very sorry for the people who have this much much worse...

November 17, 2014 - 5:21pm
EmpowHER Guest

Last year my 84 year old mother got a flu shot at the local pharmacy. The pharmacist gave her the shot way up high on top of her shoulder instead of in her arm, and she said it was very painful. 48 hours later she developed shingles. This year my boss got a shot of cortisone in her left hand and a couple days later she developed shingles on her left hand and in her left eye.

November 6, 2014 - 1:28pm
EmpowHER Guest

Well, Well, Well...my husband had flu shot and developed shingles four days later... normally VERY healthy. We're health freaks! I'm a retired nurse and have had Physiology and Microbiology and all kinds of stuff, and believe me, it's very possible. The comments about the immune system being, basically, busy making antibodies to fight the flu, would be the reason. It's preoccupied, and the shingles slips by unnoticed. Only a theory, but I'll most likely NEVER have another one!

November 4, 2014 - 10:43am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Son of a gun....I got the shingles last year 4-5 days after my flu shot. I seldom get sick and prided myself for that at 57 years old. I had deduced what you said last year. My immune system was busy building antibodies and the Shingles say hey...nows our chance!

November 8, 2014 - 7:41pm
EmpowHER Guest

On 10/22 I got the flu shot and had the normal upper arm soreness. Three days later I got severe back pain that worsened over the weekend and had developed further into a band of skin from my lower back to my upper abdomen that was numb and sensitive. I returned to the doctor. I thought it might be shingles but he thought it was a pinched nerve since there wasn't the telltale rash. A day later the rash developed and I returned to the doctor on 10/29 who confirmed it was in fact shingles. I blame this on the flu shot so I completed a VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) online.

November 1, 2014 - 2:45pm
EmpowHER Guest

I got the flu shot last Thursday. That night and the next day the arm and should where I got the shot was sore and I felt a little woozy, which happened to me last time I got the flu shot too. Then on Saturday I started having strange back pain and a headache that worsened on Sunday in addition to contined fatigue and general malaise through Monday and Tuesday. Small bumps started showing up on my back Monday, and started turning red on Tuesday. I thought maybe I was having an allergic reaction to the flu shot so I called the clinic. Based on the symptoms I described, t hey told me they thought I had shingles, but that it had nothing to do with the flu shot, so I would need to go see my family doctor for confirmation and medication, both of which I got on Wednesday. 36 hours after staring the medication, it has actually only gotten worse. I'm only 30 and, while I have some stress in my life, I've lived through much worse and not gotten shingles, so it seems likely to me that the flu shot had some role in this.

October 30, 2014 - 9:22pm
EmpowHER Guest

After experiencing shingles following my flu shot I was wondering if there was any coincidence it could be from the flu shot. Now after reading all these testimonies, I believe it is. I got the shingles vaccine in 2009 and have had flu shots once a year since and never developed shingles. Oct. 7th, 2014 I got the flu shot at my family dr. office in my right arm. I developed a large red spot that lasted over a week. In the meantime, on October 13th I had what I thought were bug bites because were red and itched. On the 14th a little pain was surrounding those spots. I went to see my family dr. and she said could be shingles and prescribed an anti viral med for 7 days (3 times a day). On the eve of the 14th I had pain around right side of my waist (spots were on my belly) and pain on right side of my back. I could not sleep because of the discomfort from pain. On the 15th I got a few small spots in the same area and on th 16th a few more. Fortunately, with the med the pain was subsiding daily as were the spots. I did have to put a tissue between my skin and my pants to keep the discomfort at bay. Today the 22nd I am almost cured of the shingles and the pain. Glad I had had the shingles vaccine though and went to the dr. immediately.

October 22, 2014 - 10:22am
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