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ask: Can a Flu shot lead to Shingles?

By Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter

dear michelle, a 76 year old friend recently had a flu shot and developed a case of shingles. any connection? coincidental? thanxs so much

Jean

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

Michelle

Add a Comment240 Comments

maleficent

I received a flu shot on Jan. 5, 2014 and 10 days later I developed shingles. It started out as a really deep pain in my rib (I thought I had bruised it). 2 days after the pain started, the rash popped up exactly where the pain had been on my rib...then it spread to my side and back. I didn't develop the huge blisters or the bad itching...my shingles came in the form of a rash and unbearable pain that I can't even begin to describe. I went to the doctor and she did confirm that I have shingles. She put me on meds and suggested that I use capsaicin cream (which felt like liquid fire on my skin). I do not think the flu shot 'gave' me shingles, but I do think that it reactivated the virus in my body...which resulted in me developing them. I am under 40 years old and this is the second time that I've had them, too. If you also developed them after getting the flu vaccine, I would suggest that you report it to VAERS. I just submitted a form to them. Perhaps they'll take notice to the connection between the flu shot and people developing shingles. http://vaers.hhs.gov/index

January 22, 2014 - 12:19pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to maleficent)

That is exactly what is happening... the flu shot tends to activate the shingles virus. It may be more likely to happen in people who are susceptible to the shingles virus. But the connection, though there are clearly large numbers of people reporting this side affect of the flu shot, is being suppressed by the government and medical community. People have a right to know it is a possible effect of the flue shot.

I had shingles twice. I got the shingles vaccine earlier in 2012. Shortly after the flu shot, I got shingles. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I recognized the symptoms immediately and the same day got an anti-viral medication prescribed, so it was the mildest of my three outbreaks (over a period of over 20 years). But still, no more flu shots for me ever. I will take my chances with the flu. It's not worth the risk of getting shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia (a long term, extremely painful, possibly permanent, side affect of shingles which has no treatment).

January 26, 2014 - 10:04am
Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter

Thank you all for sharing your stories of flu shots. Since we are back in flu season again here are some videos about shingles and the flu. I see so many people asking this question on the flu and shingles. This is why I love EmpowHER because it is important for all of us to share our stories. 

Here are links to two videos about shingles and the flu:  http://www.empowher.com/shingles/content/shingles-vaccine-right-you-her-health-minute-dr-connie

http://www.empowher.com/shingles/content/shingles-how-skin-condition-diagnosed-dr-heck

Here is a video about a woman who contracted shingles and what she did to treat it: http://www.empowher.com/shingles/content/shingles-caitlins-story

Does anyone have any tips for someone who has shingles on how to treat it? 

Sharing stories and advice is how we heal so please share this information and these videos with anyone who may be suffering from shingles.

November 1, 2013 - 4:19pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Michelle King Robson)

I am now 36. In October of 2010 I got shingles shortly after the flu shot. In January of 2011 I discovered my 5 year old son had shingles shortly after has influenza booster. I decided never to get the flu shot again.

January 8, 2014 - 5:45pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My last flu shot was in 2008. Three days later I broke out in the most painful debilitating case of shingle. I went online to see if there was any connection between the flu shot and shingles and there were 100's of posts that October of 2008 with the same thing happening. No doubt in my mind. The flu shot caused my shingles. Never again for me!!

November 1, 2013 - 5:56am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I didn't get the shingles but my boyfriend did about a month later. I got frozen shoulder from mine. It started hurting the next day. Five weeks later, I can barely lift my arm in certain angles. I am going to go to the doctor. I filed a report to be on record with the Vaccine Adverse Event reporting system (VAERS)'

October 31, 2013 - 7:32pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

I hope your doctor will take this seriously but be warned that your concerns may be dismissed. Reporting this was a great idea - the more this is reported, the better.

I hope you feel better soon

Susan

November 1, 2013 - 9:46am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Wow... After reading all this I am SO glad that I turned down the flu shot yesterday while at my doctor's office. I'm 54 and have had a flue shot 3 times in my life... the first time, at age 25, I got the full blown flu, as did everyone else in my office who took it... I read where they were much improved and started again three years ago... Both times, I felt puny afterward and had a burning sensation on the front of my left shin.. No rash or discoloration... So I wasn't anxious to do that again... Will NEVER get one now... Glad I didn't for a long time.

October 31, 2013 - 11:53am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Received a flu shot one week before developing a very itchy red papular rash under the left arm. Dr did not know what it was caused by (denied it could have been caused by the flu shot) but ordered 6 days of cortisone medication. The rashing and itching improved during the six days of cortisone treatment, bu since the cortisone treatment is done, the rash has covered my left side and is starting on the right side. It is so itchy I cannot sleep but for 1 to 2 hours a night. Dr. has ordered 6 more days of cortisone treatment. No pain, but intense itching. wondering when this will end.

October 30, 2013 - 9:48am
TamraDS (reply to Anonymous)

You need to becheck for shingles! I came down with shingles and ended up with post shingles! Vermont country store has an ointment for shingles that can help you! Read up on shingles! Be aware of your Stress level!

October 31, 2013 - 7:50pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

I'm so sorry you are going through this, I've heard about the pain that shingles can cause.

Your healing time will depend in the severity of the virus but it can take several weeks.

I wish you the best,

Susan

October 30, 2013 - 10:47am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I had shingles a 18 months ago. I had it on my left face, head, and eye. It has lingered in my eye and keeps trying to come back. When I don't eat or sleep well it gets red, eye lid swells, and skin around eye sags. Got a Flu shot this morning and within a hour or two it all started.

October 29, 2013 - 8:43pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I had a flu jab on Saturday and developed a rash 2 days later which is now confirmed as Shingles. Very painful. Surgery denied any link to the flu jab. I am 62

October 25, 2013 - 1:51am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I had a flu shot on the October 3rd and in 10 days I had serious pain in
the left arm and shoulder. I went into the hospital and had a bunch of
tests to see if it was a heart attack or blocked blood supply or a back related
injury--------all test negative. I had shingles 4 years ago and then after a
year I took the anti shingles shot. This pain that starts in the shoulder blade
in the back goes down the back side of the arm to the elbow and on to the
wrist. It is a burning pain just like my shingles that I had before --but I do
not have a rash. I have several doctors looking at me trying to figure what
is going on. The only way for me to get through the day is with pain killers
every 6 hrs. It has been 10 days since I went into the Hospital for this pain
and today it seems to be slowing down. The pain is not as severe. Still no
rash. I have the anti-shingle pills to take but the Dr. did not want me to
take them unless I have a rash. So I am taking the pain killer pills and
not moving much because moving around makes it hurt more. I think
that the flu shot started this very serious shingles type pain and I will
not have another flu shot.
Jerry Smith

October 24, 2013 - 12:19pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I work as an RN in a hospital, have a flu vaccine many times. However, this year, I had a flu vaccine on Monday, Tuesday I began having excruciating pain in my back, Wednesday I developed a left sided back rash and had to go to the doctor. I was diagnosed with Shingles. It is seriously painful, and I don't think I will be getting another flu shot after this, especially after reading everyone else's stories. Coincidence? I think not. By the way, I am only 36 years old.

October 13, 2013 - 8:49am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Thanks for your post, particularly seeing you are in the medical community - a community that I have found deny this possibility completely.

I hope you heal quickly, I have heard just how painful this condition is.

Best,

Susan

October 14, 2013 - 10:59am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

In 2008 at age 52 and in very good health, I received the flu shot. I had received them numberous time before. They were also treating me for a sinus infection (which they should not have given me the flu shot) two days later, I woke up with 1/2 my face paralyzed and sores on 1/2 of my tongue, roof of mouth, back of throat, and ear canal. Turns out that I had shingles in my mouth that caused Bells Palsy to my face. My tongue turned black and all of the taste buds fell off. Took two months to regain my face muscles and I've been left with permanent nerve damage which is called pain neuralgia in my mouth. Most of the taste buds came back but many did not. the pain that the shingles have left me with 24/7 feels like I have hot peppers in my mouth all of the time. There are medications for this pain neuralgia but they just make me loopy so that I don't care about the pain. There is nothing that will restore the nerve damage. Many, many doctors and specilists had never seen this occur - but none will go as far as to say that the flu shot caused the whole thing. Me? I'll NEVER EVER get a flu shot again. I'd rather be layed up with the flu.

January 11, 2013 - 12:29pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Anon

This is shocking - I am so sorry this happened.

In my opinion, doctors will never admit the issue about the flu shot being connected to shingles.

Please take good care in your recovery, and keep us posted.

Susan

January 14, 2013 - 2:26pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Michelle asked: "Has anyone ever heard of this or had this happen to them?"
I.e., that a flu jab has caused shingles.
Yes, a former in-law of mine, a woman in her early-seventies developed these problems after getting this year's vaccination.
If you want more details I'll find out as her brother,another ex in-law is a medic.

November 26, 2012 - 1:09pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I also developed shingles last week for the first time. I had a flu shot for the first time in almost 20 years 3 weeks ago. It does seem related. not sure that I'll get the flu shot again

November 19, 2012 - 9:11am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am a 71 year old male on good health and I am not on any medications. In December 2009 I got a flu shot and a couple of weeks later I got shingles. Last year I got a shingles vaccination. On Nov. 7, 2012 I got a flu shot and 4 or 5 days later I got a reoccurance of shingles. I am now convinced that the flu vaccination can trigger sshingles and I won't be getting another flu shot.

November 17, 2012 - 1:00pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I developed shingles within a week of receiving a flu shot. I normally avoid getting flu shots, but made an exception this year. I am a 51 year old female with minimal stress and I do not believe my immune system is compromised in any way. It just seemed like an unusual coincidence.

November 16, 2012 - 7:58am
Kathy1960

I got a flu shot at work in mid-October; three weeks later (now) I am dealing with Shingles, and the associated pain, blisters, and general unwell feeling. I am 52 and have never had Shingles before. I am not under any undue stress nor do I have any other illness, so I strongly believe that the flu shot triggered the latent chicken pox virus to become active -- especially after hearing that other people have experienced the same thing. Shingles is a nightmarish illness; once this is over I hope I never have another recurrence!

November 9, 2012 - 7:32pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I work in the NHS and was offered the flu jab from occupational health. I accepted. I developed shingles within a week and ended up having time off work.

November 6, 2012 - 1:59pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

At the ripe old age of 21, and in relatively good health, I developed a mild case of shingles within a week of getting my flu shot this year*. I'm not saying "the flu shot causes shingles", but I wouldn't be surprised if it makes one more susceptible for a short time.
*Just as a side note, I had been vaccinated last year and several years before without incident.

November 2, 2012 - 6:43pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I just had a flu shot yesterday. When I woke up this morning I had a rash on my abdomen. I went back to where I received the flu shot (Minute Clinic) and was informed I had shingles. Never had shingles before. Seems that I am not alone in this experience. 52 year old male in good health.

October 26, 2012 - 3:03pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

This also happened to Me - I'm 26 and got offered it free at work so thought why not. 5 days later I had a painful rash on my neck and for the first time in years. It turned out to be shingles. My doctor laughed it off when I'd said I'd had the flu jab and said there would be no correlation. I'd never been I'll in my life barring the odd cold and this was my first period of time off work. I'm convinced it was that jab so I'm pleased to have found this thread

October 21, 2012 - 12:06pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I got the flu shot last week at work advised since im a nurse. Two days later started to itch around my lower torso 4 days later found out I had Shingles. Being 23 yrs old I didnt take it lightly knowing I have developed tis after the flu with no informed consent of this correlation. I will never take it again. Ithought days like this were gone during childhood chicken pox

October 16, 2012 - 9:25pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I too developed shingles 2 days after the the flu shot, this was in 2008 or 2009. I know it was from the vaccine. I will never be getting another flu shot! No one believed me. Now I see I am not the only one. I am a female and was 50 years old at the time of the vaccine.

October 14, 2012 - 5:29pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Please report your shingles cases to the CDC & FDA through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)! It's truly the only way that the govt will take this seriously...by seeing shingles cases reported. Thank you!

http://vaers.hhs.gov/esub/index

I still have occasionally have pain/tenderness at the site of my shingles, and a knot is there (a nerve?) that cannot be touched without giving me the heebies & pain. My shingles happened in Fall 2009 at the age of 41, a week after the flu shot. My doctor gave me a condescending/"she's a kook" look when I suggested a link, and so does everyone I happen to mention my story to. Glad to see all the readers coming together on this website. :)

April 2, 2012 - 8:36pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

It's completely irresponsible for an MD to state it's a coincidence. Why they could claim it COULD be a coincidence, without discovering whether it was caused by the shingles shot, it is unethical for them to state that there was no cause. Like I said, I know when there is a cover-up when I see one. The cover-up by the government and medical community will continue. All you can do is protect yourself from it by refusing to be subject to this poison.

April 2, 2012 - 4:56pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

The fact is I got a flu shot and 3 days later developed a rash that turned to a case of shingles on my left side (over the heart site).
All MD's consulted say it is a coincidence... Maybe but the worst is that at 72 it developed into PostHerpeticNauralgia and it is bothering me for the last year and may be for ever! So AVOID THE FLU VACCINE.
One possible conclusion I reached is that millions of people get the damn flu shot yearly and thousands will develop shingles anyway. So it is possible that out of those thousands some happened to take the flu shot a day or two before. Any comments, agreements??

March 31, 2012 - 5:14pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

You make some very good points.

Nearly a million adults will get shingles every year and many also get the flu shot. So it makes sense that it could actually be a coincidence.

However, from the many EmpowHER readers we have spoken to, it seems that their shingles come so fast after their flu shots that when you put all their situations together (most are near identical), a correlation is possible.

It may be a chicken-egg scenario for years to come. I have spoken to several doctor who all deny any connection, yet many patients who confirm it.

Thanks for your post - the more we throw out possibilities and ideas, the nearer we (hopefully!) get to answers!

Susan

April 2, 2012 - 12:07pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Shingles started 8 days after receiving a flu shot, even though I got the Shingles innoculation a year and a half ago since I had shingles twice before. I didn't get the flu shot last year. I've been around long enough to know a cover-up when I see one. No more flu shots again, ever.

January 2, 2012 - 1:10am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I'm a 46 yr. old female, who has not had the flu vaccine in about 10 years. For some reason i asked my physician at VA for a flu shot this year, well as i sat in the emergency room about two and a half weeks later with blisters all along my thigh, the nurse asked me if I "have ever had shingles before?" The first thing that entered my mind was that flu shot I had taken not even three weeks before! I was so angry with myself for giving in when i had been doing so well before without it! do not get the shot, just do things to build your immune system like vitamin C and just eating right.

December 13, 2011 - 1:22am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

I'm sorry this has happened to you; I hope you feel a lot better soon. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Best,

~Susan

December 14, 2011 - 1:14pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I believe that if so many people are saying they had an episode of shingles after getting the flu shot, then the flu shot must have something to do with it. I think they should research a bit more and maybe they will discover that it does cause shingles. I got the shingles the day after my flu shot. There must be a connection. I told my doctor about this and he said it could not be from the flu shot, but of course, he gave me the flu shot. After reading all these comments, I am really sure the flu shot caused my shingles.

December 2, 2011 - 1:32am
Veaudrycasaus

So, I got a flu shot 2 weeks ago and 1-2 days later got a herpes cold sore. Then I got another and another even while using acyclovir. I haven't had one in years prior to this.

Is it possible that the H1N1 addition is causing this shingles/herpes problem? I wonder if there is a spike in cases. My husband got the shingles a few days after getting his flu shot last year and he still has discomfort. I am thinking I may want to get a shingles shot even though I am not at the right age yet.

December 1, 2011 - 3:46pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I'm a man. Same thing happened. Sucks!!!!

December 1, 2011 - 2:49pm
blackoak42

This just happened to me-this week! I couldn't figure out how this happened and I remembered that I got my first ever flu shot early in the week. I am 42, so I was a little baffled as to why I would be getting shingles. The nurse practitioner chalked it up to stress, but I think its the flu shot.

November 17, 2011 - 7:00pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to blackoak42)

hi blackoak42

Thanks for your post! It's funny - doctors and nurses seem to refuse to even contemplate that there is a link, even though it seems to be proven more and more.

I hope you feel better soon, shingles are tough to deal with.

Best,

~Susan

November 18, 2011 - 11:06am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Anonymous
I recently had a flu shot and about 3weeks later, I got a cold sore. As I recall the same thing happened last year. So am wondering if there is a connection?

November 5, 2011 - 6:05pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Thanks for your post; you raise an interesting question. Shingles and cold sores are in the same family of viruses so there may be a connection there although a connection three weeks later might be a bit of a stretch. But if it happened last year and you are NOT prone to cold sores, then there may be a relation here. Hopefully others will have some input here!

~Susan

November 8, 2011 - 10:57am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Just had the flu shot (was required by my employer) in Wisconsin 4 days ago and started getting itching and pain in several areas on the Lt flank from the waist to my Lt knee about 2 days later. It is getting progressively worse as nos now it is developing in more areas. You can't convince me that this case of shingles was not caused by the flu shot.

October 29, 2011 - 2:30pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I received the flu shot on October 14, 2011 from the local Walgreens.
On October 18 (4 days later), I had the shingles from the injection site down my left arm into my hand. I'm 54 yrs old and very healthy and active. I've had pain from the back of my neck on the left side down to my hand on that side. I'm taking 3 medicines to rid myself of the shingles right now: Presdnisone, Valacyclvir (blue pills) and Hydrocodone for pain. I'm still itching to this day (October 27) and doubt I'll ever take another flu shot ever again. My doctor said they aren't related but that is not what I'm finding at all online.

October 26, 2011 - 9:03pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I received the flu shot on October 14, 2011 from the local Walgreens.
On October 18 (4 days later), I had the shingles from the injection site down my left arm into my hand. I'm 54 yrs old and very healthy and active. I've had pain from the back of my neck on the left side down to my hand on that side. I'm taking 3 medicines to rid myself of the shingles right now: Presdnisone, Valacyclvir (blue pills) and Hydrocodone for pain. I'm still itching to this day (October 27) and doubt I'll ever take another flu shot ever again. My doctor said they aren't related but that is not what I'm finding at all online.

October 26, 2011 - 9:02pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I recently had a flu shot at my doctors office and 4 days later had shingles.I am a kidney recipiant on anti rejection drugs and belive the flu shot increcesed my chance of getting shingles.

October 22, 2011 - 5:51am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I got my flu shot on a Thursday morning Oct. 13th 2011 and the shingles happened on a Saturday night Oct.15th and 16th. Sunday morning. the flu shot is documented by my employer and INS as well as my shingles meds that Monday on Oct. 17th 2011

October 20, 2011 - 4:58pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I suggest you also file a report with the CDC - you can start by clicking here: http://vaers.hhs.gov/index

Good luck and I hope you feel better soon.
~Susan

October 21, 2011 - 10:03am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Same thing just happened to my mom. She is 93 - in amazingly good health. She got her first flu shot ever on Friday and on Monday broke out with a shingles rash. She is taking Valtrex for 7 days and using calamine lotion to dry the rash. Seems like lots of coincidences!

October 15, 2011 - 10:47am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I also had the flu shot last year in 2010, and that very night I developed shivering chills, like flu symptoms, and the next day a severe headache. I had also nausea, and started develolping a light fever. Then 2 days later I noticed a bump on my forehead which got worse and more painful. I went to the doctor who thought it might be shingles, and told me to come back in two days. Ater 2 days of the pain becoming more and more unbearable, and more red blister like bumps appeared on my face, he confirmed the diagnosis and started me on anti viral meds. I thought there might have been a connection to the flu shot , but my doctor said no way. Still in the back of my mind I've wondered, and now this year I'm debating whether or not to take it, especially since I'm pregnant, and it's recommended. If anyone has any advice or knowledge on this, I would appreciate it.

October 8, 2011 - 3:10pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Thanks for your post and congratulations on your pregnancy!

I do believe there is a connection between flu shots and shingles but that's my own opinion.

Being pregnant, you'll be encouraged to get a flu shot. How far along are you?

I elected not to get flu shots for two pregnancies and to get it during one (a big swine flu hysteria, I think) and it made no difference either way, I got the flu each year, as I do every year whether I get the shot or not!

The decision is yours to make but shingles and pregnancy can be a dangerous mix - you do need to have that information. You can read more here: http://www.empowher.com/shingles/content/facts-about-shingles

Best,
~Susan

October 10, 2011 - 11:40am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I would like to know if there are any cancer patients, who took the flu shot, developed Shingles shortly afterwards and became paralyzed in less than a month later. This happened to my mother during September/October, 2009. Thanks

(I am a member but can't find my login and password)

February 27, 2011 - 8:07pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

I hope you come into contact with others who can help you out with your specific topic.

If you'd like to send a personal message to me (you may have to set up a temporary new account) I might be able to help you out with your original account. Other than that you can simply make a new account.

Best,
Susan

February 28, 2011 - 1:29pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

42 Male, got shingles three days after I got Flu shot.
It's ironic that I was not willing to get the shot, my doctor talked me into it.
Had chickenpox in childhood.

February 10, 2011 - 11:32am
Reagan

Thanks to those who suggested we report these flu-shot/shingles instances. I just did to http://vaers.hhs.gov/index . Took me about ten minutes. Maybe this will help.

January 24, 2011 - 11:58am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Reagan)

Thanks for posting this link. I reported the case of shingles my husband got after a flu shot a few months ago. I didn't get (and really didn't expect) a reply, but I felt like I needed to let them know about it. My husband (41 year old) got ocular shingles and it still bothers him. Also since this time I have talked to a whole bunch of folks that have come down with shingles and though they hadn't made the connection themselves, many remembered that the case of shingles came shortly after getting a flu shot (usually within a week of getting the shot).

January 30, 2011 - 1:35am
Reagan

I had a flu shot on December 18 2010 and was diagnosed with shingles on January 15, 2011. I only thought of a possible connection to the flu shot because I talked to a friend today who had shingles twice - both times 32 days after getting a flu shot. She has a compromised immune system from chemo treatments. I am an overwise very healthy woman of 61.

This is my first time on this site. Does anything happen from these posts?

January 24, 2011 - 10:39am
Pat Elliott (reply to Reagan)

Reagan - I'm not sure what you mean by "Does anything happen from these posts?" EmpowHER provides a forum where members can share information and support one another in dealing with health situations. We also provide comprehensive information on medical conditions, for example on our Shingles page" http://www.empowher.com/condition/shingles Take some time to explore the site to get a better sense of what's here to help you.
If you have a specific question you can use our "Ask" feature which can be found on the home page. Hope that answers your question. Pat

January 24, 2011 - 5:35pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am a healthy 27 year old, i had the flu jab in November and within a couple of weeks i was diagnosed with shingles. I refuse to believe that this is not linked.

January 6, 2011 - 6:50am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I was just diagnosed with Shingles January 6, 2011 and had my flu shot around October 1, 2010. I just googled "Flu shot shingles" and this is the first site I hit. I can't believe how many people are having reactions. Looks like we all need to get together and contact the CDC. There is more power in numbers!

January 6, 2011 - 12:27am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi there
There is CONNECTION between flu shot and shingles, of cousre CDC will say no connection !!!
I am a healthy guy that got his first 3 in 1 flu shot in October 2010 at wallgreens - now I have shingles on the RIGHT side where I got the shot !!!!!

January 4, 2011 - 6:10am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

last year I got the swine flu shot, and a week or so later, I got shingles. I am a very healthy 48 year old woman, who exercises 4 days a week, am not overweight, and has a very healthy diet. I also did not have much stress at that time. The biggest reason I link my outbreak of shingles (affected area was my face) to the shot is because I've never had chicken pox. I remember being told that the only way to get shingles is if you had had chicken pox at some point.

December 23, 2010 - 8:00pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I wish i had googled this before my husband (age 70) had his flu jab 2 weeks ago. He has now been diagnosed with shingles around his eye and forehead. Needless to say he won`t be having the jab again!!

December 22, 2010 - 6:23am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I also had a flu shot the day before Thanksgiving and today was diagnosed with shingles.I wish that I had known this was a side effect of the flu shot.I think its slightly coincidental that I developed this when I'm a health and diet conscious 50yr old. I'm under less stress now than ever, so that argument isn't working for me.

December 6, 2010 - 5:24pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My husband & I both received the flu shot a week & half ago. I was not going to get it this year but my doctor urged me to. My husband, who had a heart transplant in 2006 developed shingles 2 months post-transplant & it appears he again has the shingles. We see a local doctor today & if his eye is affected, which it appears it is, we have to immediately drive 5 hrs. to his transplant hospital so that he can be hospitalized & treated by IV & monitored by his cardiac transplant team. I didn't think to mention to his Transplant NP that he had the shot but will tell her 1st thing this morning. He has been required to get it each year. Can't say that it is due to the shot but also can't say that it isnt't. I have a neighbor who believes the flu shot killed her mom several years ago. I WON'T be convinced to get it ever again!

December 3, 2010 - 4:38am
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Thanks very much for your input here. I'm so sorry you and your husband are going through this - especially after a heart transplant a few years ago. Sometimes the immune system never regains full strength (not that this is necessarily the case with your husband) and shingles is not a good thing for your husband. I do hope things are ok with him and please update us after his doctor visit.
Best,
~Susan

December 3, 2010 - 1:05pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I also had a flu shot 2-3 weeks ago and now have shingles !! Interesing posts. I will probably not get the shot next year but as a beginning teacher I thought it was a good idea at the time!

December 1, 2010 - 12:02pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am a very healthy and fit 38 year old woman. My daughters and I had the 2010 2-in-1 flu vaccination and just under 2 weeks later, I was diagnosed with shingles on the left side of my back. While it was not as painful as I hear it could be, it caused me so much emotional stress because I thought there must be something seriously wrong with me if I am this young and develop shingles. After a large panel of blood tests, I am confirmed healthy. I lead a very stress-free life. Can this really be a coincidence when there are hundreds of people posting about shingles shortly after receiving a flu shot?!?! This was my first flu shot ever (as well as my childrens) and we will NEVER get them again. Esp. because both of my daughters have contracted the flu despite the shot 2 months ago.

November 3, 2010 - 8:48pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Thanks for sharing your story, Anon. How frightening and very disappointing that the flu shot hasn't been good for you or either of your daughters. Since there are so many strains of flu, vaccinations can be hit or miss. I get the flu every year, whether I get the shot or not so I pass on it these days.

I wish you and your daughters a speedy recovery,
Best,
Susan

November 8, 2010 - 12:30pm
amy68

I think it's interesting that on the flu vaccine brochure that you are given, the side effects mentioned include a rare but serious complication called Guillain-Barre Syndrome. This is an inflammation of the nerves that can cause paralysis. Shingles (herpes zoster) is also an inflammation of the nerves, and if you Google Guillain-Barre Syndrome + Shingles, there IS a connection. I'm not naive enough to think there is a shingles virus IN the flu vaccine, but something in the flu vaccine stresses the immune system enough to cause the shingles flare-up. It's something the CDC should put as a possible complication of the flu vaccine -- it's called informed consent! Let the people decide if the risk of the flu vaccine is worth the benefit! For me, it wasn't. I wish the CDC wouldn't keep ignoring this!

October 28, 2010 - 5:53pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to amy68)

Wow Amy, Very interesting that you are the only person in this forum that has made and stated this connection with the Guilain-Barre Syndrom, flu vacine & shingles. And find it even more interesting that it seems even doctors aren't aware of the connection or you would think they would ask a patient that they are treating with the shingles condition if they have had a flu short with-in a couple of weeks of coming down with the condition. And, then inform them that it is possible it could be a side effect of the vacine, instead of telling the patient its usually caused by stress or something tramatic in their life that has happened that activated the dormat virus.
I just wonder how many more thousands of people the flu vaccine has activated this virus. I mean we are only a few that have been courious enough to get on the computer and ask the question "can the flu vaccine cause shingles" and come across this site.
Thanks for the comfirmation that indeed there is a connection!
Chrissy

October 29, 2010 - 9:36am
Veaudrycasaus

My husband got the flu shot 6 days ago and started developing shingles 2 days later. He has confirmed opthalmic shingles, is in horrible pain. He is 40 and normally healthy. Shingles can be activated by stress. Isn't it possible that the immune response to the flu shot IS a stressor. I understand why the CDC would not acknowledge this connection and claim coincidence but I think this much anecdotal information warrants research.

October 28, 2010 - 3:53pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My son recieved a flu shot almost 2 weeks ago and 5 days later developed a rash which looked like little blisters. His pediatrician yesterday just diagnosed him with shingles. He said the flu shot did trigger something which caused this flare up of shingles. Today I'm taking him back again because his hand is swollen and he can't move his arm. The clinic that provided the shot is denying that the two are correlated but I believe otherwise.

October 27, 2010 - 9:53am
renee625

renee625
I agree that everyone that has experienced any type of reaction to the flu shot needs to make it known to the CDC. Of course, medical professions around the world will not agree that there is a link between the flu shot and the shingles, but we that have experienced shingles shortly after receiving flu shots have our doubts. I am approaching the one year mark for my bout with shingles and I am still experiencing severe burning and itching in my scalp and ear (PHN). I am still on medication to help soothe the pain and discomfort, but I will never take another flu shot. It frightens me when I hear that people develop shingles every year or more than once in a lifetime --that is not good news.

October 27, 2010 - 5:43am
amy68

I posted on this site 2 years ago, after getting shingles after a flu shot vaccine. I'm amazed that every fall/winter this website is filled with similar stories from others. It is more than anecdotal; there is some link between the 2 viruses. I still refuse to get the flu vaccine, and even 2 years later I still have occasional sensitivity on my trunk from shingles. Please report your symptoms to the VAERS website for CDC. The more people report...the more seriously the CDC will take this.

October 26, 2010 - 4:47pm
Pat Elliott

Hi all - We advised the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) of this last year after receiving several inquiries on the site. We heard back from one of their doctors, Carolyn Bridges, MD:

"Influenza vaccines contain either inactivated or killed virus or they contain a weakened form of influenza virus. Thus, they cannot cause shingles. Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the virus that causes chicken pox. Shingles is relatively common so it is possible that some cases of shingles may occur around the time of influenza vaccination, but that would be coincidental. There is no evidence that influenza vaccination leads to shingles. Influenza and shingles are caused by very different viruses."

For more information, visit

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/shingles/default.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

October 26, 2010 - 4:29pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I too have developed shingles on the left side of my head and face 3 weeks after getting the flu vaccine which was required at the hospital I work (otherwise you wear a mask for your 12-hour shifts!). I will never get another flu vaccine. I would rather wear a mask than to go through this again. Someone at the CDC needs to investigate this. Something is going on.

October 26, 2010 - 1:42pm
Vivi

I received a flu shot, Oct 21, 2010. Within 3 hours I felt slightly ill and my side around my left chest began to ache. Two days later, there were little red patches. Three days later, I had many small blisters on my left breast circling around to my back. Four days later, I finally got diagnosed, and a prescription for shingles. Five days later, I still have chills headache and pain, and lots of itching of large blisters. I think it most definitely was related to having received a flu shot 5 days ago.

October 25, 2010 - 3:44pm
DavidK

I am 40 year old male, petite and in very good health. Never had shingles before but I had chicken fox when I was a kid. I got the flu shot two weeks ago for the first time after I started a new job. I got flu like symptoms a day after. In two days I developed a painful bump under my left arm near my left breast in four days a few more painful pimble like bumps developed around the first one. I thought I was developing a boil or something. Now its more than a two weeks and they are recovering but they are still sore and they fit shingles symptoms exactly. They have a block sport at the tip but have no pus but clear fluid or just nothing in them. I am not itching but they are really painful. I haven't seen a Dr yet but my wife is a RN and has confirmed that its shingles. I plan to see a Dr this week since I just go my insurance but I don't expect them to say it ws the shot. I just hope the vaccine was not contaminated.

October 25, 2010 - 12:22pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to DavidK)

Hi David,
Thanks for sharing your story. Will you let us know how it goes at the doctor's office? I'd be curious to see what they say...

I look foward to an update!
~Susan

October 25, 2010 - 12:27pm
AmyChristen

I am 43 and was diagnosed with shingles last week, just one week after getting the combined regular and H1N1 flu shot. After looking through these posting, I have to believe there is a connection...has any research been published to suggest there is a link?

October 24, 2010 - 10:08am
Alison Beaver (reply to AmyChristen)

Hi AmyChristen,
I wanted to let you know your question was answered here: http://www.empowher.com/community/share/shingles-and-flu-shot

October 24, 2010 - 12:18pm
misvives HERWriter Guide

Thank you for sharing your story, Anonymous. Contacting the CDC is a great idea and we appreciate you providing the link.

October 23, 2010 - 9:26am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I too experienced the shingles (around my upper right torso with some running around my back) less than two weeks after receiving my flu shot this year(2010). I am 70 yrs. of age, and healthy. I get the flu shot every year and have never experienced this or any other negative reaction previously, other than the usual side effects. Just to ease my curiosity on whether the flu shot could indeed cause shingles....... I happened upon this site. Suppose now i will push my physician to carry the vaccination for shingles. She told that medicare does not cover this and the inoculation is only about 50%effective................but who cares, I will get it anyway even it is only 20%. My Understanding is, this painful rash is merely the beginning, many suffer with scarring and nerve ending truama which could last a year or more causing pain to occur on the shingles sight at any time.

Everyone suffering or who has suffered from this malady should notify the CDC(www.cdc.gov), My feeling is: This is more than coincidental; they are just unaware at present.

, if not the local health department should be able to assistme according to the CDC

October 23, 2010 - 8:39am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am 51 and had the flu shot on 10/06 in my left arm. The same day my right had became painful and I thought it was odd. Last Wednesday, a rash broke out on my arm. Today, I decided to go the doctor because I could not stand the pain. He diagnosed the problem as shingles. After reading all of the posts, I believe the flu shot created the issue and my doctor told me not to get a flu shot again. I've received the flu shot for several years and never had any problems; however, I did not take the H1N1 shot last year.

October 18, 2010 - 4:58pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am a 74 year old male and 3 days after receiving a flu shot I developed shingles.
I am in very good health and take no medications so I think the flu shot has to be the reason, however my doctor says it can't.
I also received the shingles shot a few years ago.
A lot of good that did.

October 13, 2010 - 2:32pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you all for your posts and updates.

I do find it odd that doctors almost WANT to dismiss side effects, even though this knowledge should be taken seriously!

For those in America, you can file your own report here: http://vaers.hhs.gov/index and/or here http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/default.htm

I hope we get to the bottom of this,
Best,
~Susan

October 18, 2010 - 11:07am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I'm 76, too, and although I had received the Shingles vaccine a couple of years ago, I still got the Shingles one week after having the flu shot...a mild case as far as the pain, itching, and rash, but I am left three weeks later with exhaustion and muscle pain and weakness. Now here's a bit of irony: My husband's 79 year old cousin also got a full blown case of Shingles one week after her flu shot, and she is absolutely miserable, especially with the unbearable pain and is taking not only Valtrex but also Hydrocodone for the pain. She had just put off getting the Shingles vaccine. I think the connection may be our temporarily compromised immune system which is fighting the (dead) flu viruses thereby opening up the possibility of the latent Chicken Pox virus to re-emerge as Shingles. I'm checking with a doctor.

October 12, 2010 - 5:25am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I tried reporting my shingles, but here in New Zealand the doctor has to do it for you. So I told my doctor about it but of course I was reassured (quite patronisingly) that there was no way the flu shot could lead to shingles and the whole thing went no further. Lame.

September 28, 2010 - 6:48pm
Pat Elliott

Shingles are certainly a painful condition and I'm sorry to read that so many of you are experiencing this. You can learn more about treatment from our shingles treatment reference page at http://www.empowher.com/condition/shingles/treatments and from this article: http://www.empowher.com/shingles/content/what-shingles

September 28, 2010 - 6:34pm
kristin.tatman

I just found out today that I have Shingles after thinking it was poison ivy for almost a week. I too had the 2010 flu vaccine just two weeks ago and my first thought was that I got it from getting the shot. After reading all of these posts, I'm going to say yes. I have had chicken pox as a child and I had the shot not the nasal spray. I am curious to see if we continue to keep seeing the same thing over and over again being reported. I would not have gotten the flu shot if I'd known it could cause shingles. Mine is a week into it and very painful.

September 28, 2010 - 6:15pm
Pat Elliott

Anon - The only way the CDC will know about adverse reactions is if they are reported, which you can do yourself. This link provide information about the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System: http://vaers.hhs.gov/index I hope you, and others reading this, will report your experiences as it may help others in the future. Hope you are feeling better soon! Pat

September 28, 2010 - 5:20pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

HAD MY FLU SHOT 10 DAYS AGO. CAME DOWN WITH THE WORST STIFF NECK IN THE WORLD WITHIN 12 HOURS ALSO SEVERVE PAIN UNDER COLLAR BONE AND DOWN THE BACK INTO THE SHOULDER BLADE. LOTS OF HOT SHOWERS AND GOOD OLD BEN GAY HELPED THAT. NOW, 10 DAYS LATER, HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH SHINGLES IN MY HIP AND UPPER BUTTOCK AREA. RASH STARTED YESTERDAY. I DON'T CARE WHAT THE CDC SAYS, I BELIEVE THESE PROBLEMS ARE FROM THE FLU SHOT. WHAT THE HECK ARE THEY PUTTING INTO IT! 4 YEARS AGO I ENDED UP WITH A FROZEN SHOULDER FROM THE FLU SHOT. HAD 18 MONTHS OF PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR THAT. CDC KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THAT EITHER I PRESUME.

September 28, 2010 - 2:50pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I had a flu shot 8/24/10 at 2:00 pm est. The next morning I had a very itchy feeling around my ears and the back of my head. This morning my eye was almost closed from swelling. I went to the doctor and I have shingles at age 55. This is the second time I've had shingles.

August 26, 2010 - 8:19am
Lucy73

Hi, I am in New Zealand and had the flu vaccine 13 days ago. Yesterday I broke out in shingles so I also wondered if there was a connection. I have never had either shingles or a flu vaccination before. Will definitely think twice about getting the flu vaccine again.

June 29, 2010 - 2:27pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hey there, just wanted to add another notch to your statistics. I'm a 37-year-old male. Got the flu shot in Oct 09 and had shingles symptoms within a week (full-blown shingles in 2 weeks). I had chicken pox as a young child, and I've had flu shots for the previous 15 years (military requirement--not by choice). It was my first and only case of shingles. I will never take the flu vaccine again.

June 7, 2010 - 6:22am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My 82-yr old mom received the flu shot and she broke out an hour later. Thought it was just a rash... nope... SHINGLES. Seems way to coincidental.

May 26, 2010 - 8:51am
Cary Cook BSN RN (reply to Anonymous)

Shingles can be brought on by stress or an immune challenge, such as illness or an immune response to vaccine. The virus lays hidden in your nerves, and then something that stresses your immune system can kick it off. So it makes sense that sometimes a vaccine could be the culprit.

May 26, 2010 - 11:20am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Cary Cook BSN RN)

Yes, well why won't doctors just admit this and quit saying there is no connection? Let's start a class action lawsuit. Oh, that's probably why they won't.

April 2, 2012 - 7:45pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Cary Cook BSN RN)

She had a shingles vaccine two years ago. I sure hope that helps reduce the pain and discomfort. She called the clinic right away to tell them she broke out. They told her to stay home and that it will get better. I would now like to invite that person out to the house for my mom's 3AM dose of medicine.

May 26, 2010 - 12:08pm
azorian babe

....or what you thought was flu virus was actually the onset of Shingles. When I was in the process of getting my Shingles outbreak, I suffered for about two months prior with body aches, tiredness and flu like symptoms. Two days before the rash erupted I drove myself to the ER thinking I had a colon blockage or appendicitis or a gallbladder attack.
I thought I was going to die.
I hope you have an easier go of it.

April 14, 2010 - 5:38pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am just recovering from a flu virus and am thinking that the virus somehow has triggered some shingles symptoms. I very rarely get the flu, never take the vaccination, and it has been 8 years since my first and only shingles outbreak. So far I have no blisters or rash but that same unforgettable intense itch/burning pain on my left scapula and underarm. All other flu symptoms are gone other than some fatigue. Conclusion? Weakened immune system allows Shingles virus to activate.

April 14, 2010 - 11:50am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Google attorneys who specialize in this. You'll find them. If there are attorneys, there's a connection.

April 11, 2010 - 8:07pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

yes, I received a flu shot on November 10 and immediately started feeling ill. My symptoms were headache, and severe pain in the back of neck. Two weeks later I learned that I had shingles. The actual blisters did not appear until November 28, but that initial neck pain was the onset of shingles.

April 5, 2010 - 7:09am
Diane Porter (reply to Anonymous)

Anon,

Thank you so much for responding. And we're so sorry you had to deal with the shingles. They can cause nearly unbearable pain. I hope you recovered quickly and that all your pain is completely gone. Do you normally get flu shots? Will you do so again?

April 6, 2010 - 8:20am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I recieved the H1N1 flu shot and developed shingles exactly 2 weeks later.

sheila

January 19, 2010 - 12:32pm
Alison Beaver (reply to Anonymous)

Can you tell us more about your situation? Are you thinking that a vaccination caused shingles, even two weeks later?

January 19, 2010 - 3:38pm
azorian babe (reply to Alison Beaver)

My doctor explained the flu shot vs shingles because there is live virus in the serum which lowers the immune system enabling the ganglion on nerve endings to come to life again after all these years.
Imagine that? Well, let me tell you.....I've never had such excrutiating pain in all of my 70 years. This week I did learn, however, that taking L Lysine helps to heal the Shingles.....and that's good because I do not like being dizzy and whoozy on Neurontin.
Jacqueline

January 19, 2010 - 8:19pm
Diane Porter (reply to azorian babe)

Azorian babe,

Thanks so much for the explanation from your doctor. I'm so sorry you experienced the shingles. I agree, it was some of the worst pain I'd ever felt in my life. I'm glad that L Lysine helped you; are you doing better now? Has the pain and sensitivity started to go away? (Mine took several weeks, and even a few months later sometimes I felt it.)

January 21, 2010 - 8:57am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

Hello Diane,
This is my 10th week of Abdominal/back shingles, and happy to report that it seems they are going away just as quickly as they arrived. One month ago I didn't believe that to be possible.
I don't seem to need the Neurontin any longer; but I notice the nerves on one leg (the same side that was affected) seem restless when I try to go to sleep at night.
Sometimes an Advil helps.
Thank you for communicating.......this helps, too.

January 21, 2010 - 4:16pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am a 52 year-old male. Had the chicken pox when I was little. Never had the flu in the last 10 years. This year, two months after getting the regular seasonal flu vaccaine shot, I develop Shingles (around New Years Eve). I know of two other people who have also just gotten the Shingles after receiving the seasonal flu shots. Doctors told us that is is due to stress. But we were all having fun over the holidays. No real stress.

January 11, 2010 - 12:12pm
Pat Elliott (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon - Thanks for writing. If you weren't stressed during the holidays, you probably are now. I'm sorry to hear you're dealing with shingles, which occurs in people who already had chickenpox. Shingles is a reactivation of the dormant varicella zoster virus. After causing the initial chickenpox infection, the virus does not leave the body. Instead, it settles in the nerve roots near the spinal cord. Once reactivated, the virus travels along the nerve paths to the skin. There it causes pain and a rash.

While stress is one of the risk factors listed for shingles, it's not necessarily the cause. Most cases occur in those with no known risk factor other than age. While shingles can't be cured, it can be treated, and I hope your doctor is working with you to help you best manage your condition.
Take good care,
Pat

January 11, 2010 - 5:14pm
azorian babe

Hello,
I received my flu shot in October, and on November 12th I came down with a violent case of shingles around the waist and right side. I have been to E.R. twice feeling as though my gallbladder or appendix was going to burst. My rash circled my waist and trunk on the right side and only lasted about a week; but the Herpes Zoster Neuralgia that still remains in very painful. Today is December 23, and it does not seem to be getting better.

December 23, 2009 - 5:17pm
Pat Elliott (reply to azorian babe)

Hi Azorian Babe - Welcome to EmpowHER, and thanks for contacting us. I'm sorry to hear you're dealing with shingles and are in such pain. Here is a link to our Shingles page which has information you may find helpful. Best wishes to you. Pat

http://www.empowher.com/condition/shingles

December 23, 2009 - 6:24pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I had the h1n1 flu shot on Friday, December 4, 2009. On Saturday, Dec 5, my right side was in pain. On Sunday, Dec 6 I went to emergency. Because they thought it was a kidney stone, they told me to see a Urologist. He ordered a CAT scan that came back negative. By Wednesday I was in so much pain, I called my primary doctor for an appointment. They took me immediatedly and he diagnosed me with the shingles. I had a small but painful rash which I pointed out to the other doctors. They ignored it because I was also complaining about pain from under my rib cage to my waist and around to my back, same area. The shingles attack a band of nerves. So this explained why I was in so much pain. Whether it correlate to the h1n1, I can't say for sure, but what a coincident!

December 18, 2009 - 8:11am
azorian babe (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for your comments about your shingles. Your pain sounds the closest I have read to the pain I experienced and am still having. From November 12th, '09, until just recently the pain had me doubled over. After I had the pain a month, my doctor prescribed Neurontin, which helped a little. The nerve endings also affected my colon which gave me an obstruction because for some reason, I became constipated. I bought stool softeners and a laxative which helped tremendously.
I hope you are feeling better. Tuesday I will have had Shingles for two months, and am just now feeling a little better; however, the waist swelling is still there.

January 10, 2010 - 7:17pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi,

I received my flu shot (mandated by my employer) on Dec 04, 2009. On Dec 06, I started seeing 'rash like' spots appearing on my body. I also had severe itching, redness and swelling on my left upper arm, where the injection site was. I have also been having severe headaches/lump feeling in my throat, and cannot stop scratching at the site. I ended up taking Benadryl, which did decrease my immune response. Then, I went to my doctor, who said the local reaction/headaches were caused by my reaction to the flu vaccine. She also asked me if I had ever had chicken pox. I told her yes, in the 4th grade I did. She said my 'rash like' spots were Shingles, most likely brought on by the flu vaccine I had 10 days prior. WTF!? I am no longer required to receive a flu shot. Just getting the word out....

December 15, 2009 - 1:00pm
Pat Elliott (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon - Thanks for sharing your story with us. Will you keep us posted on your situation and recovery? Take care, Pat

December 15, 2009 - 5:19pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

BTW, I wish the people with the crazy theories would just stop.

Shingles can attack when the immune system is weak. The flu short may challenge the immune system giving shingles the opening it is looking for.

With more info perhaps they can fine tune the vaccine to reduce this possibility. Others who are worried about shingles can choose to skip the vaccine.

Nothing more than that.

December 7, 2009 - 9:14pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Thanks, I filled it out.

December 7, 2009 - 8:22pm
Pat Elliott

Hi everyone - I just checked the most recent update from the Centers for Disease Control, and they are not reporting shingles as a side effect from the vaccination. Of course, people would need to report that they had this side effect in order for CDC to recognize this. Here's how to do that, for those who live in the US.

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a national vaccine safety surveillance program co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). VAERS is a post-marketing safety surveillance program, collecting information about adverse events (possible side effects) that occur after the administration of vaccines licensed for use in the United States.

VAERS provides a nationwide mechanism by which adverse events following immunization may be reported, analyzed, and made available to the public. VAERS also provides a vehicle for disseminating vaccine safety-related information to parents and guardians, health care providers, vaccine manufacturers, state vaccine programs, and other constituencies.

The link to VAERS is http://vaers.hhs.gov/index

December 1, 2009 - 5:45pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hello, I would just like to add that I got shingles on my neck about 10 days after my flu shot (H1N1). I am a 43 old healthy male and I had never had shingles before.

There would seem to be enough here to warrant more investigation.

December 1, 2009 - 2:03pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I had a flu shot and then a few days later got the shingles on the same side as the shot was given. My stress level was lower than ever at the time and I had never been healthier. I have, however, gotten the flu shot for several years and never contracted shingles before this time. I am 56 now, and I think the flu shot may be a contributing factor in getting shingles. When I told my doctor that it started with a muscle spasm (shingles attacks the nerves, especially in the back and in the exact place I had the spasms) he clearly did not associate the two, and I am certain that those two incidents were directly related. So, a study on the possible connection between the flu shot and contracting shingles is definitely needed, and there are enough people who don't take flu shots--and enough who do--to make such a study pretty simple and definitive, I would think. Plenty of us lab rats out here to draw from.

November 18, 2009 - 2:49pm
Diane Porter (reply to Anonymous)

Anon,

Thanks so much for contributing to this thread. I hate hearing that you got the shingles, and I hope you're fine now. And we agree that study needs to be done!! It just doesn't seem that it would be that difficult a thing to do, does it?

But even if that doesn't happen, we're glad that women who experience this are coming here to share information with one another. At least it gives them confirmation that they aren't nuts in thinking that such a connection is possible! (And LOL at the lab rat comment!)

November 20, 2009 - 8:37am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

I am a 39 year old male but I thought I'd post anyway. I had the H1N1 flu shot 8 days ago. A few days later I developed the shingles just under my armpit on the same arm I had the shot. There was no pain experienced until 7 days after the shot but itching started within a couple days. I never looked at the spot until 5 days after when it was still itching and there was a very developed rash that looks like it had been there a while. I have had the flu shot before about 4 times with no trouble.

November 27, 2009 - 9:12pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Dear Anon

We love to hear from the male perspective too so thanks for your post! I'm so sorry that you've come down with the shingles and what a connection to the flu shot, eh?

Did you inform your doctor of the direct association between your shot and your consequent diagnosis?

I hope you feel better very soon and thanks again for your input!

November 28, 2009 - 7:15am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

HI,
My 19 year old daughter was diagnosed with ulcertive colitis 3 years ago and came down with a nasty case of the shingles last summer on her forehead and scalp. Because of her condition, both her GI and Primary doctors strongly recommended she get the regular flu shot as well as the H1N1 flu shot. Last week, exaclty 7 days ago, she, as well as her sister and I all received the regular flu shot and just today she came to me in tears because the shingles are back! She is scheduled for the H1N1 shot next week and I'm afraid to think what it is going to do to her. Rest assured I will be on the phone to the doctor FIRST thing in the morning.

November 17, 2009 - 4:30pm
Pat Elliott (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon -
I'm sorry to hear about what your daughter - and you - are going through. Please let us know what you learn from her doctor and how you and your daughter are doing over the next few days. Thanks so much for writing, and we wish you the best.
Take care,
Pat

November 17, 2009 - 6:34pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Pat Elliott)

Pat,
Called my daughters (Kim) doctor this morning and she definetly wants to see her ASAP. She has an appt. tomorrow at 2:30 and the H1N1 shot is on hold for now. I"ll keep you posted. Thanks for your concerns.

Kim's Mom

November 18, 2009 - 5:59pm
Pat Elliott (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Kim's Mom - Just wondering how you and your daughter are doing, and hoping all is well. If you need any resources or information we would be happy to help. Please let us know. Thanks, Pat

November 23, 2009 - 6:23pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Dear Anon,

I am in my fourth week of shingles and happy to report am better everyday. I believe the connection lies in the preservative thimerosal, a mercury based anti bacterial. It has been used since the 1930's in vaccinations, and is at the heart of a major controversy around autism. It attacks the good as well as the bad, so it well may be the catalyst which activates the latent chicken pox virus that is at the root of all shingles. So far it is all speculation and no verification. But I wonder when and where that might ever happen knowing how little money there is for these kinds of research that might cut into profits.. Sad.

The actual 'shingles vaccination shot,' is a live virus with no preservative, so it actually does not attack the immune system. I foolishly procrastinated getting it, and continue to pay a price.. My hope is to be as vocal as possible and help others avoid the mistakes I made.

My very reputable doctor is the one who suggested my shingles might have happened as a direct result of the flu shot.. The one I received was not even H1N1... Never again!

November 11, 2009 - 10:08am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I got the flu vaccine on Monday. Three days later I got shingles for the first time. From the looks of this board I'm beginning to suspect people are being injected with Shingles contaminated flu vaccine so the drug companies can make more money.

November 11, 2009 - 1:30am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

YES!!! I am a 64 yr. old woman who recently had the seasonal flu shot. I never get these shots as I don't take medicines hardly at all so am skeptical on this shot. Due to the H1N1 scare I decided to get this one hoping that it will offset the effects of swine flue if it should hit our area. The seasonal flu shot that I received had Thiomersal in it. I should not have had it. I did develop shingles and have never had a cold sore before this. I had the shingle (herpes zoster) on the corner of my lip and it has made my mouth sore and the roof of my mouth. I went on meds for that. The Dr. that gave me the shot had no idea that shingles could be a side effect, didn't even know that it had the Thiomersal in it. go figure! Now I am experiencing pain in my right shoulder, back, lung area. hard to bend over. don't know where this is headed............any comments from others?

November 9, 2009 - 6:06am
Diane Porter (reply to Anonymous)

Anon,

The doctor who gave you the shot probably wasn't aware of any possible connection because the CDC hasn't found that connection. Our readers here are sharing information because it helps others and because together, we may help raise awareness of any possible link.

Does your right shoulder hurt where your shot was given? Or higher than that? Is the pain in your shoulder, back and lung area all connected?

Please consider going to your doctor for this pain. Unless you can connect it to some recent physical activity in which you lifted too much or exerted too much, I worry that you are having possible heart symptoms. (Heart trouble can have very different symptoms in women than it has in men.) Don't panic, because it may be nothing at all. But with pain like you're describing -- where it's spread among different areas -- it's always good to have it checked out.

Will you do so, and come back and update us?

November 9, 2009 - 10:18am
sppowers

I had not registered here until now, and wrote about my shingles-flu shot connection as anonymous.. As far as seasonal flu, I last had flu in Jan 1969, and had never gotten the shot until this past year. At the end of a physical exam, the nurse appeared, saying, "Here is your flu shot." I had not asked for it, but took it. This year I got it at my pharmacy thinking I should.

I am 65, but have no health issues and no prescribed medications. Until now, that is.

The opthamologist I use is very highly trained and regarded. She and her nurse were the ones who pointed out the possibility of a connection between the flu shot and shingles. Re my vision, so far I am okay there, but the ongoing pain and all the future possibilities sound awful. I have discovered I am now a candidate for Bell's Palsy, and 40% more likely to have a hemmoragic stroke.. thanks to shingles in this part of my head.

November 6, 2009 - 11:20am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am 65yrs old and two weeks after a flu shot I got shingles on the left side of my face and head, which is now two more weeks. Today my opthamologist ask about the flu shot, and I was made aware there might be a connection. Reading all this makes me really angry that there has not been more research and that there are not more warnings. Ironically, I, also, just heard that the flu shots universally given this year are totally unnecessary, since only the H1N1 is active, not the virus in the shots.

November 4, 2009 - 4:51pm
Diane Porter (reply to Anonymous)

Anon,

i am so sorry this has happened to you. Shingles is so painful. And you must have involvement in your eye(s) if you are seeing your opthamologist?

Please don't think, however, that this year's seasonal flu shots are totally unneccessary. So far, 95% of reported flu cases have been H1N1, but we are not yet into the worst of winter. We may see both strains this winter. H1N1 is of particular risk to young children, pregnant women, health care workers and people with underlying health conditions, because as a population we don't have any immunity to it. The seasonal flu is another strain entirely. At 65, especially if you are vulnerable to the flu or have any underlying health condition, you made a good decision. It just didn't turn out well.

I am very interested that your opthamologist asked you about your flu shot, because up until this point, most professional opinions (as well as that of the Centers for Disease Control) have been that there is no connection between flu shots and shingles. We at EmpowHer truly hope that gathering this data will help if that connection needs to be researched and made.

Thanks so much for writing. I hope you feel better soon, and that your vision is not affected. I would love to read an update in a couple of days if you feel up to it.

November 6, 2009 - 8:29am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

hi. 36 year old male here. came down with the h1n1 flu (full array of symptoms) and also noticed a small rash on my left wrist. it actually appeared a day before my serious flu symptoms hit. i thought it was a spider bite or something. after a few delirious days of the flu, i finally looked closely at my wrist and the rash had devolved into those little white blisters. that sent me to google, and info about shingles, and this page. i had chickenpox as a kid but have never had a shingles outbreak until this one.
cc

October 26, 2009 - 12:00am
Diane Porter (reply to Anonymous)

Anon,

I'm sorry to hear that. I have had shingles (I too had chickenpox as a child) and I know how painful it can be. You said the flu you got was H1N1, but had you had any shots? Even for the seasonal flu?

November 6, 2009 - 8:23am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Yes, it had happen to my Father.. I dont think its a good thing to get the FLU SHOt AT ALL.

October 24, 2009 - 5:45pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Here is a thought. Shingles develops in people with a lowered immune system. Perhaps it is not the flu shot that 'causes' shingles but the immune system is compromised fighting the low dosage of flu injected in the system and it allows the shingles to surface.

October 23, 2009 - 10:48am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Well, we all know that. No one is saying the flu shot actually creates the virus that causes shingles. Most of us are saying further study is needed, to see why this is so.

October 23, 2009 - 12:49pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I can't believe the number of posts -- and to hear that it is just a coincidence???

I am a very healthy woman, had my physical and blood test a day before getting the flu shot and it all came back as normal. 10 days later I developed shingles!

Silly me. I had not had the flu shot before and I have never had the flu. Just thought to do it to be safe. Never again.

October 22, 2009 - 10:29pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I stumbled on this site while googling shingles and flu shot. I am a 49 year old RN, and have had the flu shot for many years. I received this year's shot on October 5th. This past Saturday, Oct 17, my face broke out. I initially thought it was a reaction to something, but ended up in the ER, and am now on antivirals. The fact that it's on my face is horrible, I feel I can't even leave the house, and am now off work. I haven't experienced the pain others talk about, but plenty of burning and itching. I can't believe that as a nurse, I've never heard of this connection. I don't know whether I'll ever get the flu shot again.

October 22, 2009 - 12:08pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My 78 year old father received the shot last week.... bingo... shingles this week for the first time in his life....

October 20, 2009 - 7:47pm
Diane Porter (reply to Anonymous)

Oh, no, Anon. You have got to be kidding.

Of course you're not. But that's horrible. Did he see his doctor right away? There is some medicine he can take early on that can help his symptoms somewhat.

There simply has to be some sort of connection here. Thanks to you, and thanks to all of you who continue to help document this problem on this thread. You are helping others, and perhaps the more evidence that is gathered the more chance we have of getting better information about any possible link.

I hope your father's illness is short and not as painful as I know it can be. Thank you again.

October 22, 2009 - 8:31am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I recently HAD the flu (no shot) and had the same occurance of painful eruptions on my right ankle that did look like ant bites. At first my ankle turned bright red and was painful and then I noticed the spots which were in a line on one side of my ankle and I did suspect shingles but did not go to a doctor.

October 20, 2009 - 7:34pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I too found this site after googling "flu shot feels like shingles". I am a 32 yo male, and had a mild case of shingles in my right chest and arm last year. Now I am getting the same feeling in the left arm, two days after getting a flu shot there. So weird.

October 20, 2009 - 9:45am
misvives HERWriter Guide

Thank you for sharing your experience anonymous. As you can see from previous comments, shingles are common for many people after the administering of a flu shot. Have you sought help from your physician?

October 17, 2009 - 9:25am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I had the flu shoot two weeks before breaking out with shingles. A co-worker has had the same experience and brought this to my attention!

October 17, 2009 - 6:50am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

10/16/09

Received the flu shot in my left arm on Sept 15th and approximately 2 weeks later began to experience nerve sensitivity on the left side of my face and head. Noticed a few bumps a few days later on my head and decided to see the doc. I was diagnosed with shingles and am still experiencing nerve sensitivity even though the rash has pretty much dried up. There has to be some relationship. I am a perfectly healthy 55 y/o male and my immune system is working fine. I think it was in 1976 that a previous swine flu vaccine caused an outbreak of Guillian Barre Syndrome. This will probably be my last flu shot.

October 16, 2009 - 12:30pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi, I'm a healthy 27 yr old male who came across this site while Googling "flu vaccine: shingles". I got the flu vaccine a few weeks ago and approximately 2 weeks later I broke out with the shingles and was diagnosed as such. The rash occurred on the same side of my body as the shot. It is amazing how many folks on this site got shingles 'approx 2 weeks following the flu shot'!

I was given an antiviral medicine which seemed to help. I'm trying to gather ammunition for my doctor's appointment. I'm in the Air Force where vaccinations are mandatory (H1N1 coming up). Hopefully I can convince him to write me a waiver, which I will guard with my life. This is hopefully the LAST TIME I will receive ANY flu shot.

October 15, 2009 - 8:11pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I got a 'flu shot several years ago and came down with severe shingles on my face, around my eye. I would NEVER have another 'flu shot.

October 15, 2009 - 5:58pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I HAD A FLUE SHOT SEPT 15 AND SHINGLES PROBABLY STARTING OCT 5 WITH FATIGUE
HOPEFULLY MEDICATED IN TIME. I'LL KEEP WATCHING THIS SITE FOR MORE INFO.

October 12, 2009 - 2:20pm
mphchicago

My mother, 76, a friend, 50, and my boss, 57, got shingles right after getting a flu shot. I know the doctors all say there is no correlation but from personal experience and after reading various websites, I think some research should be done.

October 10, 2009 - 4:30pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I received the flu shot on oct.30 the next night I was awakened with pain under my right shoulder blade and a itch under my right breast,this is very painful,as I hurt in the front and the back,there is a rash under my right breast now.....I think it is shingles and I am going to call my doctor tomorrow.

October 4, 2009 - 6:19pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

two weeks after the flu shot.. got mild shingles. my stepmother had a severe case about 2 weeks after the shot. if you've never had this happen, be thankful. i'm boosting my immune system w/ supplements instead of a shot this time....

October 1, 2009 - 10:53am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I got a flu shot and one week later strange little blisters appeared on my cheek beginning about 3/4 of an inch from my mouth. I could see it was spreading so I went to the Dr. who prescribed an antiobiotic. It has stopped spreading but looks so terrible. It hurt a little bit but not terribly. I did have chicken pox as a child, so I have not idea if it
is shingles, but just so coincidental to receivng the shot. It's just one big raised red patch with some scabby areas.
Sorry about being so descriptive.

September 29, 2009 - 6:48pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I posted the following on Saturday September 26, 2009 - - - - Follow-up below repost:

Comment by Anonymous on September 27, 2009 - 9:19am

I am 35 and recently got the flu shot on Sept. 15, 2009. On Friday September 18 I began experiencing pain in my chest above the breast area and pain in my left arm down to my elbow. The following week I developed a rash at the exact area of where the pain my arm is and I also have a rash on my back. Both rash sites are on my left side. I went to the doctor this past Wednesday because of how bad my arm and chest were hurting. EKG showed no problems with heart. Doctor said she thought I had pulled some chest muscles. I didn't mention the rash to her because it had just started and I thought it was a bug bite. With the sever pain I'm having right now and the rash on my left arm and back I really think I have shingles.

I too wonder about the coincidence of getting the flu shot and developing this. I've always got the flu shot and never had any problems.

However, the pain I'm dealing with right now is almost unbearable.

FOLLOW-UP: Ended up going to ER 9/27/09 because in severe pain. I DO have shingles. Again, still wondering if Flu Shot is connected.

September 29, 2009 - 5:34pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am a 39 year old male. I got a flu shot on 9/19/09. A few hrs later, my left arm (in which I took shot) was very sore and 2 days later, I felt something in the back. Another 2 days later, I noticed some red rashes and I went to Dr on 9/26 for the same. Dr declared that it was case of Shingles. After going through the above posts, it appears that there is certainly some connection with flu shots and Shingles.

Dr has prescribed Valtrex anti viral drug and I am still going through it.

September 27, 2009 - 9:41pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My 4yr old son recently received a flu shot which was accompanied by redness and bruise. A week or so later he developed shingles. To our knowledge he has never had chicken pox but he did receive the vaccine which, according to the literature, can sort with a regular virus and cause shingles. I asked the very specific question of the Dr. as to whether the flu shot can cause a shingles outbreak. Her response was that in 22 years practiving medicine she has neither seen an instance where a shot cause a shingles outbreak nor heard of such a thing. I have read many blog sites and heard one post that an elderly gentleman who receives back injections has had four recurrances of shingles. Apparenetly he stopped getting the injections and the shingles episodes has ceased. It is heartbreaking. Our boy thinks it is the shot causing the pain and we allow him to continue to do so. Apparently the severity and length of symptom occurance is less for children than for adults, for which we are thnkful.

September 27, 2009 - 5:11pm
misvives HERWriter Guide

Hi Anonymous,

Thank you for sharing your story and I am sorry to hear that your in unbearable pain. You should certainly go back to your doctor since the pain is severe and the rash has spread. It may be an allergic reaction.

I too had a flu shot last year and was seriously ill from it. Last year was the first time that I received the flu shot and everyone tells me to get another one this year but after the first episode, I am unsure.

In your situation, seeking medical help would be beneficial. I hope this helps.

September 27, 2009 - 9:55am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am 35 and recently got the flu shot on Sept. 15, 2009. On Friday September 18 I began experiencing pain in my chest above the breast area and pain in my left arm down to my elbow. The following week I developed a rash at the exact area of where the pain my arm is and I also have a rash on my back. Both rash sites are on my left side. I went to the doctor this past Wednesday because of how bad my arm and chest were hurting. EKG showed no problems with heart. Doctor said she thought I had pulled some chest muscles. I didn't mention the rash to her because it had just started and I thought it was a bug bite. With the sever pain I'm having right now and the rash on my left arm and back I really think I have shingles.

I too wonder about the coincidence of getting the flu shot and developing this. I've always got the flu shot and never had any problems.

However, the pain I'm dealing with right now is almost unbearable.

September 27, 2009 - 9:19am
Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter

Amazing, isn't it? I'm sure we're going to see more and more posts. It's great when our women actually tell us when they've developed shingles after having a flu vaccine. If the CDC doesn't want to deal with it, at least we can make women aware of what we're seeing in our community.

September 22, 2009 - 3:43pm
Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter

I'm so sorry to hear you got shingles after having your flu vaccine. It's amazing how many people have this as a side effect, yet no one is willing to say it's a "possible" side effect.
Are you feeling better now?

Did your doctor figure out it was a reaction from the flu vaccine or, did you figure this out yourself? You're a good patient advocate for coming and posting to this thread. We will keep after the CDC as I'm sure we're about to see a lot of women who will be posting about their own experience or a family member who's developed shingles after the vaccine. Take care and let us know if there's anything we can do for you and thanks again for posting. The more women who post, the more we'll be able to get someones attention and get this listed as one of the possible side effects. Knowledge is power and we deserve to know all the effects to any drug.

Best in health,
Michelle

September 22, 2009 - 12:06pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Michelle King Robson)

Hi, I posted last fall about getting shingles 5 days after a flu shot. A healthy 41 year old mom who is NOT getting any flu vaccine this fall!! I've been following this website out of curiosity because it's the only place I don't get 'mocked' for my theory of the flu shot and shingles being related. Last fall my doctor gave me a condescending look and said, "That's an entirely different virus, dear..." Friends who are nurses and PA's don't believe me either. Very frustrating!! Now with the SWINE flu vaccine soon available, I am wondering what will happen to people? I am so wary of both vaccines that I don't think I am immunizing my children this year either (ages 5, 8 & 11). I hope that's the right decision...but my trust in vaccines and the CDC has been shaken.

A link to a very interesting article:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1206807/Swine-flu-jab-link-kille...

My severe pain from shingles lasted a month. Gradually it decreased but I still (1 year later) have occasional itching/tingling on my trunk where the shingles were, and now I have a small bump/knot under my skin in that area that is still excruciating if I touch it too hard.

The link between Guillain-Barre symdrome and shingles (both nerve inflammations) is right in front of the CDC's eyes...I can't believe they continue to ignore all of the cases reported on the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting. I urge anyone who has contracted shingles soon after the flu shot to report it to the CDC: http://vaers.hhs.gov/ I never received an answer after I reported mine but that doesn't surprise me.

Thanks for this website...it has confirmed that I'm not a hypochondriac! Amy :-)

September 24, 2009 - 8:28pm
rettaric (reply to Michelle King Robson)

Hi Michelle:
I find it interesting that there has been no activity on this site all summer long however with the advent of the flu shot season new posts are appearing. Call it anecdotal, however this is concerning. You are right that patients deserve to know ALL the side effects of a flu shot. We need to be able to make informed decisions about our health and the risks we are willing to take. Let's hope that those who are unfortunate enough to develop shingles after a flu shot, post to this site.

September 22, 2009 - 2:28pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

received my first flu shot on Sept 17th, 2009. had a sore arm the first day, then the soreness spread to my back. I developed a blistery rash on the back of my thigh that looks like shingles. I have had this same blistery rash in the exact same place (there is a scar now) once in the past and was told it could be shingles by my doctor.
Anna D

September 22, 2009 - 7:56am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I got a flu shot and 5 hours late I started feeling a shooting pain on my left side, the side I got the flu shot on. Shooting pain so bad that night I could not sleep. Sure enough two days later I was diagnosed with shingles.

September 21, 2009 - 2:49pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am another who got shingles after getting a flu shot. It was my first flu shot, a mandatory immunization from my employer. Within days my underarm was tingling and the first blister appeared within 10 days. Now I have several blisters down the nerve line of the arm. I am also a healthy 40 year old, who thought my feeling extra tired this last week was just related to a busy life :P
I hope you can gather documentation so that the CDC will recognize shingles as a possible adverse outcome to the flu shot.

September 18, 2009 - 1:06pm
Diane Porter (reply to Anonymous)

Anon,

I am so sorry about your experience. Shingles is so very painful, and seems to take an endless amount of time to heal. Thank you for writing in. If you haven't called your doctor about the shingles, please do so, so they are aware of the problem as well. I hope you recover quickly and without any scarring.

September 18, 2009 - 5:24pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I recently broke out with two very large and painful fever blisters (upper and also lower lip). I did not have a flu vaccine because I have heard too many things about them that cause me concern. I feel certain mine were caused by emotional upset at my workplace. However, I wanted to share what worked. I took Valtrex; as far as I could tell it did nothing. However, bleach will kill the virus. I used diluted Clorox bleach on a cotton swab and it healed them up within 2 days. Also pure peppermint oil topically applied helped. I am 55, female, had chickenpox as a child, but have absoultely no history of ever having fever blisters or shingles. I also took an anti-viral herbal combination from Nature's Sunshine that seemed to help. The Valtrex gave me a severe headache. I am thankful to have found this website for I had heard of people saying autism was linked to vaccines, but never shingles. This is great information. The way I came up with using bleach was that I had seen an exhibit years ago at the Walter Reed Hospital museum in Bethesda, MD and in the exhibit they displayed a bottle of Clorox bleach with a card that said: Bleach will kill the AIDS virus. I thought: if bleach will kill the AIDS virus, then it will kill the herpes virus.

March 4, 2009 - 8:39am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My mother had a flu shot this winter. She had a bout of cancer last year, with chemo and raditation treatments ending last November (2007). This year her doctors said she needed to get a flu and pneumonia shot because of her compromised immune system. Around the middle of December, she began to have trouble with pain in her back. She went to her Chiropractor for an adjustment. The adjustmenst caused enough pain to cause her to cry out, not a usual occurence for her during an adjustment. I am not sure what other specific symptoms she suffered, she was very tired, and in alot of pain. Finally, her chiro. said she needed to see her doctor. He diagnosed her with shingles. This was in January. She is still struggling with pain, her blisters are just about gone. But lots of pain still. I truly can't believe how many people seem to be suffering from this!

Any suggestions for dealing with the pain? She is taking motrin in large doses every 4 hours, and I believe they prescribed Lyrica.

Thank you all for submitting your info to this board, it is so helpful.

Jennifer

February 28, 2009 - 2:34pm
Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter

Thanks for posting this information on EmpowHer. Did someone give you this recipe to help your shingles? I'm so glad this treatment worked for you.

Thanks for sharing!!!

Best in health,

Michelle

February 27, 2009 - 4:46pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

When I had shingles several years ago I gently rubbed some St. Johns Wort extract into the affected area, then I put a few drops of lemon, and eucalyptus oils into a little coconut oil and rubbed that gently into the affected area. And it seemed to calm the nerve sensitivity and help dry up the blisters.
I am getting over the flu right now and developed achy overly sensitive bands of pain at my waist, and though I see no rash I am putting that mix on my skin again and it helped the pain and sensitivity diminish significantly.

February 27, 2009 - 11:20am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I received a flu shot on Nov. 30, 2006, and on January 19, 2007 developed shingles. I have never been the same since that flu shot. Within three days of receiving the shot, I started getting sick and not feeling well, having fever, aches and pains, cramps in my feet so bad that I couldn't walk. I had terrible pain in my arm from the injection. My arm to this day still hurts, can't lift anything heavy. Getting the flu shot was the worst decision I ever made. Whenever I have more stress than usual, it always feel as if the shingles will return.

I will always believe that there is a link between the flu shot and getting shingles.

I'm a 46 year old female.

February 14, 2009 - 5:16pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I got the shingles after getting a flu shot in 2000. I am now 29 years old, and I get shingles on my face 4-5 times a year. My face is completely numb, and my hair literally hurts. I wish I never got the flu shot. The doctor told me that it compromised my immune system, and triggered the virus.

February 9, 2009 - 2:20pm
lauragabe (reply to Anonymous)

I got shingles on my forehead and scalp last December. The only thing I could associate with it was the fact that I had recently had a flu shot. It was the absolute most painful, awful experience of my life. I thought I would pull the hair out of my head. I am afraid to get the flu shot again this year because I believe that it caused my shingles. It is unfortunate that there is no available information about this because I now see that is more prevalent than I realized.

October 15, 2009 - 10:58am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I am a 63 year old female. I have received the flu shot for many years. In 2007, approximately 2 weeks after receiving the flu shot, I developed shingles in my right ear. It caused a condition called Ramsey Hunt Syndrome. I had severe paralysis on the right side of my face including my inability to open and close my right eye. It has been two years and I still cannot automatically blink my eye. The numbness has gotten a lot better but is still there. I don't know if the flu shot triggered this, but I am not going to get the flu shot again until more information comes out about the connection of the flu shot and shingles.

October 5, 2009 - 10:27am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

that is not shingles on your face, that is bells palsy as a result of the shingles. see my post above about how i got shingles then got bells palsy too.

February 27, 2009 - 11:54am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi, I understand that you may have gotten bells palsy, but my diagnosis is post herpetic neurolgia. It happens everytime I have an outbreak on my face.

February 27, 2009 - 4:20pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

interesting! i havent seen shingles on the face nor heard of Postherpetic neuralgia (localized pain in the area of involvement of shingles that persists beyond one month.) everyone i know of had it on their torso, usually under their arm. this is great information. thank you for sharing.

February 28, 2009 - 6:48am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I came across this site while googling "flu vaccine shingles." I'm a 23 year old female who recieved a flu shot around December 19th. About 2 1/2 weeks later, after feeling under the weather for a week or so, I began to develop a shingles rash. I am generally healthy and had chickenpox when I was much younger. I can't help but think there may be some connection between the flu vaccine and shingles.

January 14, 2009 - 10:50am
DJ

I would like to add something for everyones information, I just did a Google search by typing in "Can a flu shot cause a shingles outbreak" and a most unusual article came up, apparently the CDC at the beginning of last year released a public health report for Doctors and Public Health officials which stated that they recommend that all older adults receive a Shingles Vaccine. This vaccine is made by the huge pharmaceutical company Merck and it cost $150.00 per shot and it needs to be renewed every few years. Call me paranoid if you want, but doesn't it seem strange that people who received a flu shot this year are now reporting out breaks of shingles, this after the CDC recommended that all baby boomer's receive a $150.00 annual Shingles vaccine from a company they have dealings with on a regular bases?, by the way MERCK also produces most of the yearly Flu Vaccines.

January 8, 2009 - 12:08pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to DJ)

Sounds like something out of a Robin Cook novel but certainly food for thought!

January 8, 2009 - 1:43pm
DJ

I'm a 54 year old male and I was lead to this site while doing a search about a recent outbreak of Shingles I developed after getting a Flu shot. I would like everyone to know that I have have also developed a case of shingles after getting my annual flu shot 2 weeks ago, it started out as a sever lower back pain and then progressed down the left side of my left leg(Same side I received the shot in), the surface of of the skin on my left upper and lower leg feels itchy and now it feels like its on fire and is sore to the touch. And yes I know what a case of shingles feels like because I had one outbreak before and it is the same (Severe lower Back pain then the tingling feeling skin then burning pain and sometimes small painful blisters).

January 8, 2009 - 10:01am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi
I just wanted to comment on this thread. I got a flu shot while at work in Oct 2006. I was healthy and I thought since it was free why not.
Before this; I never really never took part in getting a yearly flu shot.
I'm in my forties, and never gave shingles a thought.
In July of 2007, I returned from a two week vacation, and got back to work. A week back at work, and I felt like I was getting an earache or ear infection, so I went to the company doctor for help. I was informed that I had shingles and had to start antiviral meds.
In retrospect, after reading this thread, I thought maybe the flu shot in 2006 brought out the dormant chicken pox virus and it didn't affect me until later. I don't know for sure and the doctor told me that shingles are caused by stress, weather change, etc... But I still believe that flu shot had something to do with it.

January 7, 2009 - 10:57pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I just googled "flu vaccine shingles". I had shingles about 10 years ago. I noticed the rash right away as looking like chicken pox and was at the doctors the following day. It was typical of shingles in that it had the rash, was limited to one side and seemed to follow a nerve. I had what I would determine a mild case. I had very little lingering pain and it lasted a short while.

In November of this year I received the flu shot - I normally don't get it but it was free and being offered at a place I volunteer so I got it. A few weeks later I felt a "stinging" and itching in the middle of my back. I thought something had bitten me. Since then I have felt this stinging and/or itching off and on. There are few raised bumps to the touch but no rash. About a month ago I commented to my husband that it felt like when I had shingles, but figured even if it was I had it too long to do anything about it other than wait it out. Today it is not itching so much as stinging - like shooting pains. This feels worse than when I had shingles. It is across my back around where my bra is, it is on both sides, it has lasted longer than my shingles episode and is more painful, but no rash.

January 7, 2009 - 6:00pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi,

I run a UK based health website and have just responded to a query about usage statistics over the festive period. Interestingly, there was a 51% increase in viewings of articles about shingles on our site. Also a 295% increased interest in 'flu' and 'flu like illness'. It is true that there is no scientific evidence for any link between flu vaccination and re-activation of herpes zoster as shingles. However, it is well known that shingles is more likely to be re-activated in someone whose immune system is (severely) challenged. Take a look a look at this article - it's about the only discussion I can find for any hypothetical connection -> http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11103441?ordinalpos=298&itool=EntrezS...

As I say, it's an interesting hypothesis, but there is currently no scientific evidence.

Hope that helps,

Gordon

January 6, 2009 - 10:12am
Tina Tran

Hey everyone, we had also checked with the American Lung Association to bring it to their attention and to see what they had to say... A representative shared this response:

"There is no evidence or link that I can find that would connect the influenza vaccine to an outbreak of shingles. I think this might be nothing more than bad timing. We hear from people who swear that they got the flu from the flu vaccine, even though this is not possible. What usually happens is that they were just unfortunate enough to either be exposed before their immunity was obtained from the flu shot (it can take 2 weeks), or they simply contracted a strain of the flu that was not covered in the vaccine. This may be similar for those who come down with shingles after the flu vaccine. If this happened to me, it would make me wonder if the two were related. I would encourage these people to report this to the FDA’s Consumer Complaint Coordinators for the state they live in: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/backgrounders/complain.html. This is also a good time to talk about the Shingles vaccine. This vaccine is approved for people over age 60, and is shown to reduce the risk of shingles by 50% in this population: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-shingles.pdf. Although most of us gained immunity during childhood with chickenpox, the resistance may fade as we get older. Not everyone should have this vaccine, so it is important to talk to your physician about this. I hope this information helps."

December 22, 2008 - 4:23pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I got the flu shot on Friday (Dec. 19, 2008). I woke up Sunday (Dec. 21, 2008) with pain and tingling in my face, scalp, ear and eye (all on the right side only, stopping at the midline). I had shingles as a teenager, so I knew the symptoms. This morning (Dec. 22, 2008) my doctor prescribed Valtrex, and I hope it is not too late to lessen the severity of the outbreak. I am a healthy 56 year old female and I was very well when I received the flu shot.

December 22, 2008 - 4:09pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I received a flu shot on November 25 and by November 29 had started to develop a rash. Saw my doctor on December 2 and was diagnosed with shingles. I am 45 and had chicken pox as a kid. I was tired and a little run down/stressed before the vaccine, possibly making me more likely to have a reaction.

My doctor said that the vaccine would not cause shingles (as I know), however it could cause your immune system to react to such a degree that it would stress it and therefore have shingles develop.

She prescribed an antiviral medication because she said that if you don't treat it you can have long term lingering effects. She cited a patient that had it 20 years ago and still can't wear a bra because of the nerve pain. She also said she has seen shingles in teenagers, adults and the elderly.

December 5, 2008 - 5:44pm
Tina Tran

Hey all, we alerted the Centers for Disease Control to this post and similar posts about the flu shot and shingles on Thanksgiving. One of their doctors, Carolyn Bridges, MD returned a statement in less than a week and here's what she had to say:

"Influenza vaccines contain either inactivated or killed virus or they contain a weakened form of influenza virus. Thus, they cannot cause shingles. Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the virus that causes chicken pox. Shingles is relatively common so it is possible that some cases of shingles may occur around the time of influenza vaccination, but that would be coincidental. There is no evidence that influenza vaccination leads to shingles. Influenza and shingles are caused by very different viruses."

For more information, visit

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/shingles/default.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

December 5, 2008 - 9:36am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Tina Tran)

I also find Dr. Bridge's "official CDC comment" to be condescending. On the flu vaccine safety information sheet, one of the very rare side effects of the vaccine is Guillain-Barre syndrome. This is an inflammation of the nerves causing paralysis. Guess what a side effect of SHINGLES is? You guessed it - Guillain-Barre syndrome:

http://www.health.com/health/library/topic/0,,hw65904_hw65906,00.html

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/extract/344/1/65-a

It is insulting that the CDC thinks there is no link. I encourage anyone who had the vaccine and shortly thereafter got shingles to fill out the vaccine adverse reaction form online:

http://vaers.hhs.gov/

It is the only way the CDC will get accurate numbers of people who have gotten shingles after the flu shot, and the only way they will take this seriously! Imagine the number of people out there who got flu vaccine and then shingles and didn't make the connection to the flu shot!

December 11, 2008 - 5:00pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Tina Tran)

None of us is stupid enough to think that the flu vaccine is the direct cause of shingles. Most of us are aware that the chicken pox virus is to blame. Dr. Bridges is mistaken if she thinks that is what we are alluding to.
My concern is that there is something in this year's flu vaccine that is sapping our immune systems enough to allow the chicken pox virus to
re-emerge. Perhaps this year's flu vaccine is requiring our immune systems to work harder in order to produce antibodies. In any case, I find the tone of Dr. Bridges' response to be very condescending. It is a shame that she is not interested in investigating further.

December 5, 2008 - 3:08pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My mother got a flu shot for the first time last week, and two days later got the same rash as described by others. She went to the doctor today, and was diagnosed with shingles. She is a very healthy 63-year-old. She thought that the timing was very coincidental, and this thread seems to confirm it.

December 1, 2008 - 4:41pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am so glad I found this website!! I have been suffering from shingles for a month now, on the right side of my trunk/waistband area. I got my flu shot on Oct. 27, and by Oct. 31 the itching/pain/rash started. I originally thought it was hives from a new fabric softener. After a week of itching and pain, I was diagnosed and confirmed with a culture that I have shingles.

I am a 40 year old woman who is very healthy, and was NOT under stress or run down when I received the flu shot. Nor is my immune system compromised. I don't fit the mold of who gets shingles. I've received the flu shot the last 6 or so years with no bad reactions. I talked to a physician assistant friend of mine and she said the flu shot triggers your immune system into "overdrive" to make flu antibodies, and that overload could have triggered a case of shingles that were dormant in the nerves. Interesting about the Guillian-Barre connection that someone else noted. I wonder how related shingles and Guillian-Barre are??

Another anecdotal story is that my husband's 82-year old grandmother has shingles on her scalp right now...she had the flu shot 2 weeks prior to her outbreak. Coincidence?? I think not!

I am convinced there is a link - there are way too many people (on this website alone) for all these to be a coincidence.

November 25, 2008 - 8:49pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I received the inactivated flu shot and within 2 days I had a bout of itching, then 3 days later had a raised band of skin from the right of my belly button to right above my hip area. Within days it became a band of red blotches that became tiny blisters, which spread more every day all the way to the middle of my back.I immediately knew that it was a reaction to the flu shot, because I am a very healthy person and have not had skin outbreaks at 57. At first I treated it as a one would a burn, with bandages, which caught the draining blisters at night, and stopped it from spreading further. I am now dealing with the intense pain and with making sure they dry out without an infection.

I had never heard of shingles, and could not figure what was going on with me. I consulted a health book which showed a photo that showed a band of blisters on one side of the body, just like what I had, under the heading of Shingles. I don't believe it is a coincidence that
this happened 2 weeks after my flu shot.

I called and left a message at the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program which exists for the care of anyone who has had a serious reaction to a vaccine. The number is 1-800-338-2382. Their website is www.hrsa.gove/vaccinecompensation. If any of you contact them and have any results, please let me know at miss-ines@peoplepc.com

Good luck to you who have had the same experience.

Inés

November 12, 2008 - 11:19pm
Diane Porter (reply to Anonymous)

Ines, I am so sorry about your experience. I have been through a bout of shingles and it was one of the most painful things I had ever experienced.

Do you know whether you had chickenpox as a child, and if so, whether it was a mild or serious case?

I'm very glad you called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation program. It seems that only from repeated reporting of such symptoms will they understand that people getting shingles in reaction to a flu shot is more than a coincidence. The responses we are building just on this thread seems evidence of that.

Take care as you recover. Please let us know if you hear anything from the NVIC, okay?

November 13, 2008 - 10:55am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Correction to the HRSA website --www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation.
inés

November 12, 2008 - 11:24pm
rettaric

My 83 year old father just returned from the doctor with a diagnosis of shingles after having received a flu shot last Thursday. The shingles are on his right leg. In addition, both he and my mother received a flu shot at the same time and both of them experienced pounding headaches that started in the back of the head and neck and then moved to the front forehead. This headache came on almost immediately and they both felt sick and "out of sorts" for several days after. Coincidence??

November 9, 2008 - 3:41pm
Diane Porter

Pamela, I don't suppose your mom has a baby book anywhere that she kept for you? It would be really good to know if you had chickenpox, as that's the main indicator of whether you're at risk. Here's what Medicine Net says about the possibility of contagion:

"Yes, shingles is contagious. Shingles can be spread from an affected person to children or adults who have not had chickenpox. But instead of developing shingles, these people develop chickenpox. Once they have had chickenpox, people cannot catch shingles (or contract the virus) from someone else. Once infected, however, people have the potential to develop shingles later in life.

"Shingles is contagious to people that have not previously had chickenpox, as long as there are new blisters forming and old blisters healing. Once all of the blisters are crusted over, the virus can no longer be spread."

If your mother is diagnosed with shingles, ask her doctor what precautions you need to take in order to avoid or lesson chances of contagion. And at the first sign of something that might be shingles -- tingling, pain and itching on the skin where nerves are, even before you see a rash or blisters -- go to the doctor yourself. An early case of shingles can be mitigated by medicine that won't help a later case.

http://www.medicinenet.com/shingles/article.htm

It's good to be alert to these symptoms even if you find that you had chickenpox as a child. I had a serious bout of chickenpox at age 2, and yet I got a case of shingles in my late 30s. So it doesn't always act like doctors think it will.

November 3, 2008 - 10:52am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

Once you have had the chickenpox, the virus lives in your system for the rest of your life. If it reactivates, that's when you get the shingles. SO even if you had chickenpox as a child, it doesn't mean you won't get shingles, it's the exact opposite. If you read the last sentence of your first quoted paragraph you will see that's what it says.

I had the chickenpox as a child and have also had flu shots over the years, but never shingles. However, I am currently recovering from cancer and my immune system is compromised. I was required to have both a flu shot and a pneumonia shot this year. Within a few weeks, I had the shingles. I too am wondering if the stress on my immune system from the immunizations triggered the shingles.

December 8, 2008 - 7:58pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My mother received her flu shot two weeks ago and now has a rash similar to shingles on the back of her knee. She has a doctor's appt. today. Just wondering, since I live at home with her, is it contagious? How can I avoid getting them? I asked my mom if I had the chicken pox when I was little and she can't remember. Help!!!

Pamela

November 3, 2008 - 8:54am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Pamela,
I went through the same worries a couple of years ago when my husband had shingles. I couldn't remember if I'd had chickenpox, my mom and my brothers couldn't remember, and nothing was written in my baby book.

Since I know adult Chickenpox is usually very serious, I needed to find out.

There is a simple blood test that can be done to see if you've had Chickenpox. You shouldn't have any problem getting your mom's doctor to order one for you.

Denise

November 3, 2008 - 12:21pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Yesterday I got the inactivated flu vaccine. I have been getting it for years and have never had a bad reaction to it before. However, within one hour, I had a flat like red rash about two inches above my waist on each side of the center. Each area was about two by four inches in size. It not only itched very badly but was also very painful and stinging. I tried wearing my husband's large cotton tee shirt which was older and soft, but was not able to stand for even that to touch my skin. I tried Benadryl, every anti-itch topical medication that was in the house, and a spray made for sunburn. When I went to bed, I piled pillows around to keep my sheet and shirt from touching the area. This morning it is much better but still feels warm to the touch so I am nervous that it will flare up again.

November 1, 2008 - 7:16am
misvives HERWriter Guide

I recently had my first flu shot and I cannot imagine that I will sustain another one in the future.

The government provides its' employees with flu shots every year. I was unsure about getting one myself but this is the information that was provided to the employees.

What are the benefits? Influenza is a contagious disease which is usually spread by coughing, sneezing and nasal secretions. Common symptoms would be: fever, sore throat, chills, fatigue, cough, headache and muscle aches.

The Center of Disease Control provided each employee with information on who should receive the shot and why people should get vaccinated.

Who should get vaccinated?

Some people are more prone to becoming sick with influenza and can lead to more dangerous conditions. For example, people with heart or breathing conditions. Children and the elderly are also more prone to obtain a more dangerous disease. Anyone who works with children, elderly or work in a health related agency or hospitals are usually forced to obtain flu shots or they cannot return to work until they are immunized.

What about the rest of us?

Anyone who wants to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill or spreading the illness should be immunized.

You can lean more about influenza vaccinations by contacting your physician, contact your local or state health department or contact the Center of Disease Control and Prevention at 1-800-232-4636 or they can also be accessed on the web at www.cdc.gov/flu.

My first experience was not a good one. Within an hour of receiving the vaccine, I was lethargic and my eyes began to poof out. By the end of the night, my eyes were completely red, I had what I called “goo” coming out of the corner of my eyes, numb lips, severe headache and all I wanted to do is sleep. I did not experience shingles but I can be certain that I will not return next year for a follow up.

After talking to co-workers, it appears to me that most people get sick the first time that they receive the shot and then become immune for the following years. I cannot comment on personal experience and clearly, I don't think I will try again next year. It has been one week since my flu shot and I FINALLY feel better.

October 25, 2008 - 9:31am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to misvives)

I had a very similar reaction to the flu shot I got yesterday. One hour after getting it I felt chilled and my focus was affected as my driving ability seemed impaired. Four hours later I had pharyngitis, a stuffy nose, a terrible headache, chills, blurry vision due to a whitish eye discharge, red eyes. I took tylenol and went to bed. This morning I feel almost well but my eyes are still red.

November 1, 2008 - 5:59am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to misvives)

I've been getting the flu shot for about 6 years after having a horrrible 14 day bout with the flu. Don't know why this was my unlucky year!

October 25, 2008 - 7:36pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Last year I had shingles two weeks after the flu shot. I had the flu shot recently and my arm swelled up and I had a rash from the site of the shot to my elbow. This lasted several days.

October 25, 2008 - 5:20am
Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter

I'm amazed at how many posts we've had in the past several weeks about the flu vaccine and shingles. This is one of the reasons I started EmpowHer. Clearly, the CDC isn't reporting anything, but yet it sounds like we're seeing women and children who are having "shingle like symptoms" after having the shot.

It'll be interesting to see how many more posts we get on this thread.

Please keep us posted as to what happens with you and if you are diagnosed with shingles.

I'd love to be able to aggregate this type of information and make sure we let the CDC know what we're seeing here at EmpowHer. This is how we're going to change Health Care. It's a matter of us sharing this information with one another.

Everyone should know what the possible side effects are from any drug or shot.

Thanks for coming to EmpowHer and sharing your story. I hope you're feeling better.

Best in health,

Michelle

October 24, 2008 - 10:59am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Michelle King Robson)

I received the flu shot a couple of weeks ago and within a couple of days developed symptoms of allergies - watery eyes etc. Early this week, I developed a rash on my back and near my breast and severe back pain. I believe I have shingles and am going to the doctor tomorrow. I will never get the flu shot again!

January 10, 2010 - 5:54pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Michelle King Robson)

I also received a flu shot and within 2 weeks had shingles. It has been a very painful 2 weeks, I still have alot of nerve pain, and am afraid of how long it might last. My doctor says it could take weeks or months to fully recover. If I would only have realized that I could have developed shingles I would never have gotten the shot. The company I work for had a nurse come in to give the shots and it was a spur of the moment decision on my part to get the shot, I am 54 yrs old and have always been in great health, but this is the most painful thing I have ever experienced. I will NEVER get the shot again! My fear now is how long it will last and if I can get it again.

November 16, 2008 - 1:56pm
Diane Porter

So glad you are aware of shingles and what it feels like. It does indeed sound like the first symptoms of a shingles rash. If her pain doesn't go away overnight, you might think about calling her doctor in the morning.

While there's no cure for shingles, doctors can treat it and probably give it a shorter duration and perhaps less pain. If they diagnose her as having shingles, antiviral medicine and/or steroid medicines could help her get well sooner. And they may be able to give her pain medicine or a cream to help her feel better.

Here is a Children's Hospital site on pediatric shingles:

http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/pa/pa_shingles_hhg.htm

And this New York Times article does discuss the chickenpox vaccine and the likelihood of getting shingles later. So far, it seems that the data is too young to know for sure. But there's some interesting information here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/03/health/03vaccine.html

One study reports that only 5% of cases of shingles develops in children under age 15. Let's hope your daughter isn't one of them. Please come back and let us know what you learn.

October 21, 2008 - 5:14pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I was brought to this forum after I googled shingles in a 12 year old. My daughter never had chicken pox but had the vaccine and booster. One week ago we all got our annual flu shots. Today she is crying in extreme pain on her abdomen-about 2 inches above her belly button. It is on her skin. She said it feels tingly and burning but there is nothing there. It hurts to touch it or if her shirt touches it. It sounds like when my husband had shingles about 4 years ago and than got the rash. I am very interested to learn if there is any link between the two. In the meantime I will watch and wait.

October 21, 2008 - 4:06pm
alysiak

Hi, Denise:

Let's present this to our panel of medical experts. Thank you for asking this important question!

October 20, 2008 - 6:18pm
Diane Porter

Jean,

It'll be really interesting to see if we hear more anecdotal evidence of shingles and flu shots.

The Centers for Disease Control cites only the following as side effects from the flu shot (in which the flu virus is killed/inactivated:

--Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given;
--Fever (low grade)
--Aches

And in the nasal flu shots, where the flu virus is weakened, the side effects can include:

--runny nose
--headache
--sore throat
--cough

Shingles is caused by the Herpes zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a case of chickenpox, the virus lies dormant, often for decades. The reasons it reactivates are not entirely known, though aging and weakened immune systems are often cited. Some medical reference sites list statistics that suggest for people who live to age 85, 50% will experience shingles in a lifetime. So it's certainly possible that the timing was coincidence only.

Once the shingles virus is activated, it travels along the pathways of a nerve until it reaches the skin's surface, where it ultimately results in very painful blisters.

Like Alison, I also found no documented connection between flu shots and shingles. One interesting thing, however, is the caution that people who have had Guillain-Barre syndrome should consult with a doctor before deciding to get a flu shot. Guillain-Barre is an inflammation of the nerves associated with a number of viruses, including the herpes zoster virus. Both have auto-immune connections and nerve connections.

It would be interesting to know whether your friend got the shot or the nasal vaccine; whether she had chickenpox as a child; whether she ever had Guillain Barre syndrome, or whether her immune system has been weakened by another illness.

Here's the CDC page, which also includes links to PDF fact sheets on all vaccinations:
http://www.cdc.gov/FLU/protect/keyfacts.htm

Here's an FDA page on shingles, its symptoms and its characteristics:
http://www.fda.gov/FDAC/features/2001/301_pox.html

Best wishes to you both. Come back and let us know more.

October 13, 2008 - 9:36am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

hi! my 76 year old friend had chicken pox as a child, and received the shot exactly 2 weeks before the outbreak. no guillan barre in her history. the rash is all on her scalp and brows. she received treatment the morning after the raised areas appeared and is doing fairly well. please keep me posted if more reports come in. thanx a lot jean

October 24, 2008 - 7:01pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

Hi,
I just came across this thread in a Google search trying to see if there was a connection between the flu shot and Shingles.

I am just getting over Shingles, which started two weeks to the day after my flu shot.

I know Shingles is caused by a virus lingering from previous Chicken Pox, but my case sure makes me think there was something in that flu shot that triggered the Shingles.

That being said, I will continue with my annual flu shots. I've had horrible cases of flu and would rather take my chances on a reaction to the shot rather than a full blown case of the flu.
Denise

October 20, 2008 - 5:31pm
Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter

Hi Alison,

Thanks for the information. Let's see if we can find out more about this.

Maybe others have had this reaction with the flu shot and then getting shingles???

I'm sure we're going to find out more, since so many women have been more then willing to share with EmpowHer.

Best in health,
Michelle

October 12, 2008 - 10:58am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Michelle King Robson)

i had a flu shot and then a headache several hours later. Rare for me. I went to bed with body aches and fatigue. I thought that I was more run down than I realized knowing that I should be rested for the shot. About a week later, more muscular discomfort. I am 57, female, massage therapist, C.N.A., with a lot of body aches already.
I thought that I had a bug bite under my bra strap where the pain was. The next morning a quarter sized rash! I have shingles! Carol

September 18, 2011 - 5:39am
picha (reply to Michelle King Robson)

Michelle,
Two years ago I got the flu vaccine and a hepatitis vaccine on the same day. How I wish I never did that! Three days later I came down with shingles. I had been otherwise healthy. I have always believed that having two vaccines on the same day put my body under two much stress.

8 days ago my husband got the flu vaccine. About 5 days ago he became terribly ill, and today he was diagnosed with shingles. In each case there was a 3 day span between flu shot and shingles. You have to wonder.....
Robyn

January 30, 2011 - 12:02am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Michelle King Robson)

MIchelle
Despite being otherwise healthy, I got shingles 3 days after getting the flu vaccine and hepatitis vaccine on the same day (how I wish I never did that). That was 2 years ago. I have always believed there was a connection, it was not a coincidence. I think 2 shots at once put my body under too much stress.

8 days ago my husband got the flu vaccine - and - again, 3 days afterwards, he got the first symptoms of shingles. You have to wonder.
Robyn

January 29, 2011 - 11:55pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Michelle King Robson)

I am a healthy 69 yr male who got the flu shot 3 weeks ago and one and half weeks ago came down with shingles. I believe there is a connection. My shingles responded well to an anti-viral drug and the rash was not painful so -at this point I have almost recovered and the rash has started to dry up-

November 25, 2010 - 8:19am
tonka35 (reply to Michelle King Robson)

I got the flu shot in early 2003 and developed Bells Palsy that year, followed by Shingles in August (my 40th b-day), and then Pityriasis Rosea in November which lasted for approx the full 12 weeks through the following February (oddly I had it from the top of my head to my feet when normally it stays only on your trunk). My Bells Palsy would come on quarterly and lasted for only approx 2 days at a time which made it hard for the doctor to treat. I always know it is coming because the day before I have an extremely twitchy left eye and I keep blinking b/c it feels like there is a "sty" in your eye when there isnt one. The next day when I wake up I have BP on the left side of my head only and within 2 days it is gone. It was like this for 2 years straight and I havent had a BP episode now in almost 2 years. Note that I went to an infectious disease specialist in S Fla when I was diagnosed with Pityriasis Rosea, and he is the one who immediately asked if I had had a flu shot that year!!! He said all 3 conditions I experienced are being linked to the flu shot and the herpes virus. Yes I had chicken pox as a child.

January 12, 2009 - 8:33pm
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Anonymous (reply to Michelle King Robson)

I received the inactivated flu shot on October 18. Two days later I started having itching and pain (no rash)under my left arm, down my side about 5 inches and around to my scapula. Five days later (today)I'm having severe pain with only a few patches of bumps which look like ant bites. From everything I've researced and from going to my homeopathic physician, I have shingles. I'm convinced it is from the flu shot. I'm a very healthy 60 year old female who eats mostly organic foods and hikes/walks 15-25 miles a week.I did have chicken pox as a child but have never had cold sores or fever blisters. I called the CDC to see if there have been any reports of the flu shot causing shingles and of course the answer was no. I've read numerous accounts online of this happening though.

October 24, 2008 - 9:55am
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Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I had a flu shot and developed exactly the same symptoms. I've been diagnosed with shingles. Is there any possibility that the vaccines could be contaminated?

September 29, 2010 - 6:33pm
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Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Two weeks ago my mother had the flu shot (2011). About 10 days later she started to develop headache and ear pain. She was diagnosed as having an infected sinus and started a course of antibiotics, which did not help. A few days later, she has now been diagnosed with shingles.

April 21, 2011 - 4:55pm
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Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

My daughter who is 27 years old and disabled had the new combined flu injection 9days later after she had complained that her back was hurting her I noticed a rash on her left side and on to her back, yes she was diagnosed with shingles. I am convinced the combined flu injection caused her to have shingles,its to much of a coincident.

October 28, 2010 - 3:13pm
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Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

My daughter who is 27 years old and disabled had the new combined flu injection 9days later after she had complained that her back was hurting her I noticed a rash on her left side and on to her back, yes she was diagnosed with shingles. I am convinced the combined flu injection caused her to have shingles,its to much of a coincident.

October 28, 2010 - 3:11pm
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Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I had a flu shot at Safeway a couple weeks ago, about 3-5 days after the shot I came down with shingles. Have heard of a couple other people coming down with it ...from friends. I honestly think there must be something in this years vaccine that trigered it. I'm not a stressed out person and haven't had anything happen in the last couple weeks that might have brought this on otherwise. I do know that they have a vaccine for shingles, I'm wondering if I should get one? Thanks, so nice to hear I'm not the only person thinking it was from the flu shot!

October 5, 2010 - 11:15am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I had a flu shot at Safeway a couple weeks ago, about 3-5 days after the shot I came down with shingles. Have heard of a couple other people coming down with it ...from friends. I honestly think there must be something in this years vaccine that trigered it. I'm not a stressed out person and haven't had anything happen in the last couple weeks that might have brought this on otherwise. I do know that they have a vaccine for shingles, I'm wondering if I should get one? Thanks, so nice to hear I'm not the only person thinking it was from the flu shot!

October 5, 2010 - 11:15am
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Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I had a flu shot 1 week and a half ago. I was experiencing vertigo and thought it may be due to allergies from the change in weather. 4 days later after taking decongestants I still had pain and thought I had a sinus infection due to the horrendous pressure in my ears and swollen lymph nodes. My eye began to swell and I took Benedryl again thinking it was allergies. The nest morning I woke up with my eye swollen and huge with blisters. I went to the doctor who diagnosed me with shingles. DO NOT GET THE FLU SHOT!! I did nothing different other than that and I have not had one for 17 years and thought I would get one to reduce my risk of aquiring the flu this year (2009).

September 28, 2009 - 9:34pm
verina (reply to Anonymous)

My name is Verina and I am looking for someone, who has caught shingles shortly after the flu shot. This happened to my mother after taking the shot during September of 2009.

July 18, 2010 - 3:21pm
Alison Beaver (reply to verina)

Hi Verina,
I just responded to your other post regarding your mom who had a flu shot in October of 2009, and is experiencing pain at the site of her injection. You did not specifically mention if she has shingles in the previous post.

Can you tell us more about her symptoms? Have they been chronic since September/October 2009 (9-10 months), or is she just now experiencing symptoms?

Has your mom talked with her doctor about these symptoms?

July 18, 2010 - 8:16pm
agibbs (reply to Anonymous)

I am a healthy 47 year old female. I took the flu shot for the first time last year after much insistence from my employer. Two weeks later I was diagnosed with Shingles. I did not take the flu shot this year after much encouragement from my employer. I am convinced the shot brought the shingles on. I have never had the FLU or any flu-like symptoms. I have been advised by our occu-care that it is impossible to get shingles from the flu vaccine. I disagree.

October 2, 2009 - 10:30am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to agibbs)

I'm a 67 year old female who received a flu shot on Sept. 14th 2009. Two weeks after my shot, my left upper leg felt numb for a week, after which I had flu like symptoms and immediately broke out on that same leg with a painful case of Shingles. I definitely belive there is a connection between the shot and Shingles since I've never had anything like this before. I'm on a 10 day supply of 800 milligrams of Acyclovir every 5 hours along with 75 milligrams of Lyrica taken twice daily.

October 10, 2009 - 7:38pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I've been researching where to get a flu shot and over the weekend made a list of dates and times that it will be offered locally. About 2 days later I developed shingles. Before getting the flu shot. Should I conclude that merely thinking about getting the flu shot caused my shingles? I think you'll agree that this would be faulty logic.

I have been fighting a sinus congestion for the past few weeks, due to seasonal allergies. My point is that a certain percentage of people will get shingles regardless of whether they receive a flu vaccine. There is a very good chance that your immune system has been weakened a bit from the sinus issues, leading to emergence of the shingles. The flu shot doesn't weaken your immune system. It stimulates it.

September 30, 2009 - 6:57am
Alison Beaver

I'm not sure, but I found a site (from the US Department of Health and Human Services) that is the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. It contains a list of vaccines and their "adverse effects":
http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/table.htm

(there are no adverse effects listed for the flu shot, or influenza vaccine).

Anyone else find a credible source that says otherwise?

October 12, 2008 - 6:36am
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