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Can a Flu shot lead to Shingles?

By Expert HERWriter October 11, 2008 - 9:42pm
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flu shot

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


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


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EmpowHER Guest

I am a 65 yr old female. Last October I was given a low dose flu shot. Within 3 days I felt like I was getting the flu, my entire body ached. Within a week of the vaccine it was obvious I had the shingles even though I received the shingles vaccine a couple of years earlier. Because of the symptoms I felt within three days of the flu shot I am convinced the vaccine caused me to have the shingles. I was in agony due to the nerve pain for a month. The son of a friend of mine became sick when he was eight years old, was a mysterious illness. Doctors finally got to the bottom of it. But when the mother took him to the second specialist, she said the first question he asked was 'has he had the flu shot'. She told him no, he told them to never get one, that says a lot to me.Needless to say, I will never have another one.

March 22, 2018 - 9:17am
EmpowHER Guest

I am a 78 year old women with a severe case of shingles. 41/2 weeks ago I had the 2017 flu shot for older people. Within hours I had a pain across my back which I attributed to a backache. 4 days later I was diagnosed with shingles. My doctor gave me anti virus and anti inflammatory meds. Didn't work. My rash is very wide spread across my left back and chest including my entire breast area, No meds or over the counter relief seem to stop the horrendous nerve pain I am experiencing. It has put my life to a halt. It is 4 weeks and the rash and pain are as prevalent as in the beginning. Since I am older and have all the symptoms of lasting pain, it is said that I have a 50% chance of lasting pain perhaps the rest of my life. Viruses do not leave our bodies. They remain dormant. An older person, with a weak immune system is a candidate for shingles. I believe the flu shot redirects our immune system to fight the flu and therefore leaves it vulnerable to viruses within our bodies; shingles being most prevalent. Surely the drug manufactures might know this! I believe there should be a warning on the paperwork we sign to get the flu shot that we are willing to risk any possibility of side effects! Had I seen this warning, I never would have agreed to get the flu shot! I must now live in pain perhaps the rest of my life. I believe the drug companies should be sued!

December 3, 2017 - 7:34am
EmpowHER Guest

I am a 55 year old female and received the flu shot three weeks ago....I started notice a small headache and swelling that evening and the full blown shingle headache and rash developed on my forehead within 48 hours after the shot. My neurologist said that shingles can definitely be set off by the flu shot in was not coincidence.

November 29, 2017 - 6:41pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I agree. I had a high dose flu shot and developed a headache immediately. Nine days later I developed a small rash on my forehead and then it spread over my left eyelid. I was diagnosed with shingles. Fortunately, the opthamologist stated that it did not impact the eye itself. After 6 weeks, the rash is gone, but the swelling on my eyelid isn't. I agree that there should be a warning label that indicates that this can happen to people who carry the shingles virus. I had chicken pox 51 years ago and it has remained dormant until the flu shot. I filed a report with VAERS, the agency that communicates adverse effects to the FDA and CDC. I thing all individuals should do this because doctors typically don't for various reasons. I can say that I will try to stay healthy and support my immune system by diet and exercise. NO MORE VACCINES FOR ME!!!!!

March 21, 2018 - 6:57am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for letting us know that Anon. I have always believed this and your doctor has confirmed this. Too many doctors are afraid to say a negative word about vaccines but the fact is, they do have side effects for some people.
I'm sorry this has happened to you; I hope you feel better soon.

November 30, 2017 - 2:43pm
EmpowHER Guest

From 1978 thru 2010 I received annual flu shots with no problems. In 2011, I received the flu shot on a Friday. Two hours later my abdominal area began to hurt - excruciating pain. On Monday, the blisters appeared. I saw two doctors: Shingles. Both doctors said the flu shot had nothing to do with the shingles, that it was just a coincidence. So in 2012, I received the flu shot. Two hours later the abdominal pain began, three days later the blisters appeared. Shingles again right after the flu shot. So this is no coincidence. I have never taken another flu shot.

My advice: Use appropriate language with your doctor. The flu shot does not CAUSE shingles. The flu shot TRIGGERS shingles. If you receive a flu shot, write down the manufacturer name, vaccine name and lot number. If you develop shingles, complete a VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Effects Report). Go to www.vaers.hhs.gov. The medical profession, vaccine manufacturers and US government will never, ever, ever admit that the flu shot triggers shingles because the flu kills so many people and the vaccine manufacturers make the big bucks. Shingles side effect is "collateral damage". Good luck.

November 23, 2017 - 9:27am
EmpowHER Guest

Hello I am 31 yo, extremely healthy. I got the flue vaccine last Wednesday felt really achy, but it went away. Then 5 days after I defeloped a pinful lymphnode on my groin and a rash on my inner thigh. I am a doctor my self and the lesions look like shingles, it is the first time in my life I have had this and I get the flu shot every year since I work at the hospital.

November 23, 2017 - 1:25am
EmpowHER Guest

I started with a swollen gland on the left side of my neck and my left earlobe was extremely painful. I didn't go to the doctor because I thought it was just a swollen gland or a tight muscle that would get better. Well, when it didn't, I went to a doctor. Sadly, he told me I had an outer ear infection and gave me antibiotics. The next day I decided I didn't believe him. I went to my ENT and she told me that I had shingles. It was as clear as day to her. Always get a second opinion. Anyway, I also got a flu shot a couple of weeks ago. I don't know if it's related because I had gotten flu shots in prior years and never had a problem.

November 21, 2017 - 7:55pm
EmpowHER Guest

I developed a severe R flank pain then shingles 4-5 days after the 2017 Flu shot. A good friend also had the same thing happen a week before. I suspect a connection. Ideally these would all be reported to VAERS — as possible reactions to the vaccine.

November 16, 2017 - 10:58pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had the flu shot on Friday, November 10th...On Tuesday, November 14th, I noticed a rash (blister-like) on my knee. I think everyone knows my diagnose, by other postings here, I have shingles. I believe there is something in the 2017 flu vaccine that's causing a breakout of shingles. (53 yo)

November 16, 2017 - 7:23pm
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