Five percent to 20 percent of Americans get the flu each year. A direct result is yearly medical expenses totaling nearly $10.4 billion and lost wages totaling almost $16.3 billion. The flu also sends thousands of people to the hospital each year and is sometimes fatal. But a flu shot reduces a person’s chances of contracting this dangerous and uncomfortable illness. That’s why the vaccination is generally recommended for people aged 6 months and older, especially children, senior citizens, and pregnant women.
The flu vaccination is not without possible side effects. Some are mild but others can lead to serious medical conditions. Consider the following side effects before deciding to receive the vaccination.
Potential Flu Vaccine Injury
1. Sore Shoulder. A flu shot given in the arm can possibly cause muscle soreness. Microscopic cell damage occurs when the needle is injected into the muscle. This causes an inflammatory immune system response which can sometimes cause soreness at the injection site. Over the counter pain relievers can reduce the discomfort until the soreness fades. But if the soreness persists or gets worse, then it’s time to seek medical attention.
2. Bodily Aches and Pains. Vaccines activate the immune system, which sometimes leads to aches and pains. That means pain can occur in locations other than the injection site. In addition to aches and pains, it’s possible to develop a slight fever. Aches, pains, and fever could also mean a virus was already present when the flu shot was received. These symptoms are generally no cause for alarm, as it’s just the body’s immune system reacting to the shot.
3. Swelling or Discoloration. A flu shot can possible cause swelling or discoloration at the injection site. The reaction is a common side-effect of being stuck with a needle. This side effect should go away after a few days, but ibuprofen or acetominophen can possibly speed the process.
4. A Rash or Itching. The flu shot can cause an allergic reaction in some people. One such reaction can result in an all-over body rash. This is a serious side effect that requires medical attention. Waiting for an all-over body rash to subside isn’t recommended. Intense itching at the site of the injection is possible as well. Mild itching is common, but persistent severe itching requires medical attention. Anyone with a history of allergic reactions to the vaccine should avoid the flu shot.
5. Guillain-Barre Syndrom. Guillain-Barre Syndrom (GBS) is an auto-immune disorder. GBS damages the nervous system, and is triggered by things such as viral infections and vaccines. Symptoms include temporary paralysis, difficulty walking, muscles weakness, and numbness. Most people recover, but a full recovery can take weeks or even years. It’s important to note that the flu itself can also cause GBS.
Legal Ramifications and the Flu Shot
Some flu vaccine side effects can clear up on their own. Others, such as nerve damage or GBS, can develop into medical emergencies with long term damage. Compensation is an option for those seriously damaged by the flu shot vaccine. If you or a loved one has been injured by the flu shot contact an attorney at the Law Offices of Sadaka Associates for a free consultation.