Flu Jabs and Fainting

Hi I went to see my GP today as my asthma was a bit worse than usual and he put me on 30mg prednisolone and anti-biotics for a chest infection. After many ABGs etc in the past Ive mentioned as before I have become rather needle-phobic. I was under the impression that if you are unwell that flu jabs should not be administered but my GP said it would be fine and said I would die if I didnt have the injection. :s Anyway so I had the jab and I fainted. So what I was wondering is A, is this a common side-effect of the flu jab as this has never happened in the past and B, should he have admistered the flu jab today?

Thanks x

5 Replies

  • Hi Simi,

    Sorry you've had a nasty experience today - I hope you're feeling better now.

    A lot of GPs wouldn't like to give the 'flu jab if you were unwell, but it's really a judgement call as to where to draw the line. If GPs refused to give the jab if someone had symptoms or was on pred a lot of us would never get it! It's very unlikely to cause any major problems, even if you are a little unwell. It is really important to have your 'flu jab, as 'flu certainly can be a killer.

    Fainting is not a side effect of the 'flu jab specifically, but many people will get a bit faint or even pass out with any form of needle, especially if as you say you are needle-phobic, and especially if you are feeling a little under the weather. Had you perhaps not been eating or drinking enough before you went?

    In future, perhaps you could mention this experience, and if you are feeling under the weather, ask your GP if it would be best delayed to avoid this happening again. I would do what your GP advises, though - they are obviously in a better position than anyone else to access whether you are well enough.

    Hope this helps

    Em H

  • Hi EmilyH,

    thanks for replying :)

    I understand that my GP was doing what he thought best, and I did try to explain that I wasnt feeling well at the time and if I could come back another time. And I understand Flu can be very dangerous in risk groups such as asthmatics, I have always had my flu jabs in the past. Normally when I am faced with needles I become distressed but I havent fainted. I always feel silly afterwards as know that the needle isnt really going to make me ill. Last week I had an asthma attack and I was treated in resus with magnesium and nebs etc. But I was also treated for dehydration, so maybe I was dehydrated yesterday. Thanks again for the reply, it was much appreciated.


  • Don't feel silly, Simi - plenty of people have similar reactions to needles. In my experience it's often the great big muscled men with tattoos all over them who turn green and drop to the floor at the first sight of a needle!

    My husband Alex used to get faint at the sight of blood - even if he cut himself shaving he would have to go and lie down. I remember once when he was staying at my house in the summer holidays, before we got together, and my cat scratched him - he went a very peculiar colour! I guess, though, that years of seeing me get gases, venflons and central lines must have hardened him, because he's the one brandishing the needle these days!

    I would try to put this unpleasant experience behind you, if you can, Simi, because the more you focus on it the more anxious you'll become about needles, and the more likely a repeat performance is. Just make sure next time that you've eaten and drank plenty, that you're feeling well in yourself, and that you try to relax as much as possible, and I'm sure you'll be fine. You could also ask them to lie you on a couch rather than sit you in a chair when they do it - I always lie anyone down before I go near them with a needle, having learnt the hard way by having one of the aforementioned muscled men fall off the chair and onto me!

    Take care


  • yep, usually the men, especially the ""hard"" guys who faint, and land on you or the floor.

    My friend does too and she is a doctor- fine if holding the needle, not it having it stuck in her!

  • Thanks for the replies, I would have posted earlier had my login hadnt gone funny, :s I feel much better about it all.The swelling on my arm has nearly gone and Flu jabs only happen once a year so Im just going to put it to the back of my mind. :) Thanks again. x

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