Any problems with Flu Vac?

I thought I was doing really well, stable on 9mg, finally got my boot off after the partial tear to my achilles tendon and getting a bit more mobile again, had my rhumy visit which went well, and then because i was feeling so good, started a reduction again to 8mg and had my flu jab - - because i work in the NHS and they pester me to get it done! I managed 2 days at 8mg and I am now back up to 10mg (and think it needs to to higher still) as the pain in my arms elbows shoulders, wrists feel like I have overdone it in the gym with weights! I just cant get any relief from the constant ache, cant get comfortable no matter how many pain killers i take or how I sit. Also had two nights where i have woken up with my knee 'frozen' and so painful to get moving - and that hasnt happend for 'ages'. Is there a link to the flu jab that I should have realised before hand or is it just another flare up?

14 Replies

  • I believe the reviews on this are mixed. I know many people have had the flu shot with no problems, but there also appears to be a link between a few people being diagnosed with PMR not long after they've had a shot. I researched this a bit when I was first diagnosed as I had planned to volunteer at a nursing home and for that a flu shot is required (although last year's jab was apparently only 20% effective). I decided not to take a chance as I didn't want to jeopardise my recovery. I think the issue when you already have PMR is with chronic steroid use, rather than the PMR itself. If you have a lot of aches and pains right now, maybe you should treat yourself with as much care as if you have the flu and get a really good rest for the next few days?

  • I have PMR and am at 20 mg prednisone. Had my flu shot (in the USA) about two weeks ago and am doing fine. My upper arm where the shot was given ached for a few days. But otherwise I'm fine other than the regular chronic pain and fatigue caused by PMR. As my doctor said, "it's better to get the shot than to get the flu and land yourself in the hospital."

  • I had my flu shot last year right after being diagnosed, and had no problems with it. I had this year's in September, and again no problems. It's about time I had something go well!!

  • This is a debatable and sometimes rather contentious issue - I see reasons on both sides for and against.

    For me however, I had a nasty reaction last year to a tetanus booster which contained diphtheria.

    My PMR finally diagnosed January 2105 although with me last year and believe this vaccination did not help my plight one bit - I comprehended the need for the tetanus injection due to an accident with rusty hedge clippers but was not aware that the diphtheria was automatically included.

    No one told me this and have made a note to remember in 9 years time should I require another tetanus shot.

    I take liberty to the ingredients contained within all previous and current flu vaccinations plus all miscellaneous vaccinations such as the above mentioned.

    Until such time that the drug companies remove these harmful substances (further adds extra burden to our already fragile depleted immunity), I will continue to remain in isolation during our winter months and take special precautions during other times like travelling and being around people.

    Abundant blessings - thinking of you and sorry to hear of this present situation.

  • I had the flu jab and the one off pneumonia jab last Saturday and have been fine. Discussed with GP before and took his advice that with a depleted immune system and around lot s of people all the time it was a sensible precaution.

  • As with most things it is a very personal choice whether or not to have the flu vaccine.

    Most people I know sail through the vaccine without experiencing any discernible side effects. Just occasionally, I hear from friends that they have gone down with infections shortly after having their jab and who believe that their vaccine actually caused their flu. However, it is possible that they were either already harbouring the infection before the jab, or came into contact with the virus before the vaccine took full effect (it can take a couple of weeks for it to be completely effective).

    I have not been vaccinated against flu as I have had nasty reactions to some drugs and vaccinations in the past, including a course of tetanus shots that was halted following a severe reaction to the second dose some years ago. I am also allergic to the antibiotic, Neomycin, which happens to be in many of the flu preparations. I received an email from someone just yesterday who said that her husband has just had a "violent reaction" to a flu jab. So although rare, it does happen, and, possibly the reason could be that, like me, such people unknowingly have an allergy to either a preservative or other ingredient in the vaccine.

    I know well from experience during my younger years how very poorly one can be when suffering from actual flu so, in the absence of the flu shot, I try and do what I can to protect myself in other ways, including taking my Vit D3 supplement during the winter months, taking plenty of Vit C by way of fresh fruit, especially kiwis and oranges, daily crushed raw garlic, Manuka honey, daily walks.....and crossed fingers!

  • On cause? I think the connection between the jab and PMR would be fairly tenuous -- simply because PMR patients primarily fall into an older cohort who are most likely to get an annual flu jab anyway and some will just by chance also develop PMR close to when they had the jab. On the other hand it does stress the immune system but if something as generally mild as the flu jab triggered PMR then almost surely the person would have developed it anyway with any kind of stimulus. I know there's also a theory that overexercising or injury may trigger it in the already-susceptible. Stress still seems to be thought one of the most likely triggers to those already prone. Most of us with it fall into the likely genetic camp too and it often runs in families (my aunt has it). I got it in my early 50s though very fit, at a time of a lot of varied stress and after breaking a toe rather painfully. I'm of Northern Europe descent as well. :) Hard to know exactly why some of us get this hideous condition.

    Like many others replying here, I had the flu jab while I had PMR with no ill effects except a slightly achy arm. But I think it could definitely require some people to need to up their preds for a short while. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop so would expect that to be a likely stretch of time for possible extra pain...?

    For most people with PMR, the risk of serious complications from getting flu for older people, would really outweigh any concerns about some additional short term pain. BUT I think it is worth always talking to a GP or rheumatologist about any and all concerns and to get advice on needing to increase preds. Needing to raise them a bit at times -- long haul travel and jet lag time changes for example -- seems to be a common occurrence. I hope your pain settles down quickly and you are able to continue your reductions before long. :)

  • Meant to add -- OH the frozen knee thing -- ugh! I had that almost the entire two years I had PMR and it was one of my very first symptoms and one of the last to go. I understood from an orthopedist friend who also had PMR that this is a synovial fluid issue where it isn't lubricating the joint adequately. Not that many seem to get it, but it was just awful. I found taking some Tylenol PM helped a lot if I wanted to get a good sleep and ease that pain.

  • I mentioned the flu jab to my GP last week and she immediately said that while I was still on high dose of Pred (30mg) it was not advisable to have it! I'm happy to go with that, as I am allergic to so many drugs etc and really feel that I am pumping enough into my body at the moment! Looks like lots of isolated little walks this winter for me and few group activities!! Mind you, a trip to the doctors surgery is probably the most unhealthy place to be!!

  • No reaction to mine I had a month ago. I'm on 4mg.

  • I have always had a reaction to the flu vaccine. I just got this years and it was different than other times. I ached all over........thought my prednisone dosage got mixed up. It lasted about three days. I have so many things going on GCA, PMR, Shingles nerve pain and I also had a shot in my eye with an antibiotic ointment that I may have reacted to....that it is hard to tell. It takes Sherlock Holmes sometimes to figure out just what is happening. But reactions to the flu shot are not as infrequent as doctors would have you believe. I have one friend that gets his in two portions for that very reason.

  • Never had an adverse reaction to my flu jab. This year, I couldn't even find the spot where the needle went in! However, last winter's mutant virus did get me though I think the jab did make the illness less severe than those I used to have before I started to have immunisation.

  • Hi all I had flu jab with no reaction I have had PMR for 8yrs 3.5 pred now. I was wondering if anyone else was offered Shingles vaccination as my husband had one being he is age 70-79. I also know someone else who had it and soon after vaccination had Shingles.

  • lucky12, the shingles vaccine is a 'live' vaccine and, as with all other 'live' vaccines, we are advised NOT to have them whilst on long term steroids or any other drugs that affect our immune systems.

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