What are the risks and what if I have an adverse reaction to the flu shot? What then?
Influenza, “the flu” is a serious and contagious respiratory illness that caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, sometimes leading to pneumonia, bronchitis and ear infections. The elderly and young children are sometimes at higher risks than others to contract the flu.
According to the federal government, everyone in the United States, 5-20% of the population gets the flu or approximately 4,000,000 children get the flu.
The cost associated with treating people with the flu is enormous. 1.7 billion dollars is spent on medical costs for children suffering from the flu with an additional 2.1 billion dollars are spent with indirect costs like parents missing work to care for their sick children.
Flu season is generally during the winter which is considered peak flu season with most outbreaks occurring in January and February.
It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective. The Center for Disease Control recommends vaccination before December so the protective antibodies are in place before flu activity is at its highest which is December or later.
The flu vaccine is updated each season to provide protection against those viruses researchers indicate will cause the most harm. For that reason, health care professionals recommend yearly immunization.
Flu shots are commonly approved for anyone older than 6 months of age to those 65 and older. Certain ages as well as people with certain conditions should not receive the flu vaccine. Please make sure to consult your health care provider before you receive any flu vaccine to determine in the event it is not recommended for you to receive a flu vaccine. As indicated, one of the largest groups of people receiving flu vaccines are adults.
There are common side effects to the flu vaccine which should only last a day or two following the vaccination. They include a low-grade fever, an achy feeling and redness at the injections site. In some rare circumstances, long-term side effects can occur in limited circumstances. One suspected long term side effect of a flu vaccine is Guillain-Barré Syndrome, commonly referred to as GBS, and affects the body’s immune system by attacking peripheral nervous system. The first symptoms include varying degrees of weakness or tingling sensations in the legs. Often times, the weakness and normal sensation spread to the arms and upper body. These symptoms may continue to intensify until the muscles cannot be used at all leaving the patient almost totally paralyzed. This is a life-threatening disorder and it is a medical condition requiring emergency medical treatment. Often times, the patient is put on a ventilator to assist with breathing. In most situations patients recover from even the most severe cases of GBS although some continue to have some degree of weakness for the rest of their lives.
Upon receiving the flu vaccine, in those very rare circumstances, you may develop over the course of hours or days or even as many to 3 to 4 weeks. Why GBS strikes some people and not others is unknown. In those cases where the side effects from your flu vaccine have lasted for more than six months including GBS you may be entitled to compensation through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. We have represented both adults and children who have suffered the rare but devastating long term effects from an adverse reaction to the flu vaccine. In those situations, please contact us for a no cost, no obligation consultation. Please understand that any claims presented through the National Vaccine Injury Program allow for your attorney’s fees and costs to be paid for by the Program so that there is no financial risk to you in pursuing a vaccine claim whether it be from the flu vaccine or any of the vaccinations covered by the program.
Before receiving a flu vaccination please thoroughly discuss with your healthcare professional all of the risks and benefits to you. If appropriate for you to receive a flu vaccine please monitor yourself or your loved one who receives a flu vaccine following the vaccine to make sure that they are not suffering any long term side effects as a result of the flu vaccine. Often times, if emergency personnel are not told of a person receiving a vaccine they do not consider the cause of the condition to be a vaccine. Often times, it can go undiagnosed. Be aware of all of the potential side effects. Again, if you or a loved one are suffering long term side effects from the flu, H1N1 or any of the other designated vaccinations, please contact me for a no cost, no obligation consultation.