Flu shot while on steroids?

Hi everyone,

This may seem like a silly question, but can my daughter get a flu shot while on prednisone? She's been on steroids since June 07 when she was diagnosed. I thought her neph said no immunizations while on steroids, but her ped said it's just live vaccines she has to avoid. She said the non-live ones are ok and that she actually recommends she get a flu shot since her immune system is a bit compromised.

Last year I remember we specifically did not give her the vaccine. Instead the rest of the family got shots. I was planning on the same thing this year since she's still on pred. But her reg ped seems to think she can get the shot this year.

Any thoughts on this? Anyone else give their kids the flu shot while they're on pred?

Thank you!

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I got a flu shot last year and this year while on cyclosporine. I also got a pneumonia vaccine last year (it's bacterial and lasts about 10 years). You might want to ask your nephrologist again to clarify, but I've heard the same thing as your pediatrician said, to avoid live vaccines.

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My nephrologist told me it is useless to give a flushot while on pred. It just won't do anything.

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My Neph also said no at that time I was on pred. he said the same with the cyclosporine.

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My son is almost 5. He is on pred and the neph said no flu shot for him but reccomended the rest of the family get one. If he got down to a low dose of prednisone we might be able to get a flu shot but not on a high dose.

I would double check with the neph, they seem to understand these kids situation better than the regular pediatrician.

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Thanks for the responses. I called our neph this am and he recommended that she NOT get the flu shot on pred, but that the rest of the family get it instead.

I thought this was the case, it's just that my reg ped's office called and wanted her to get it. It just threw me for a loop.

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My son's neph said the same thing and we had to delay his 4 year check up until he was off pred for 2 weeks so he could get immunized. he still can't have live vaccines (MMR,Chicken pox) while on prograf.
My question is this: He goes to kindergarten next year. He had his initial live vaccines prior to being diagnosed but not the boosters. Will the school allow him to attend without these boosters? Does anyone have any experience with this problem?

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Pred makes you immunocompromised, which is why a flu vaccine is not a good idea...
boobikins: I believe that if you have a not from the neph stating that booster shots could make your son ill (medically necessity letter) then the school can put that on file. A doctor especially a specialist will always out weigh the alternartive

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Minnie, this was a great question. I have come to realize that Kylee's pedi has no idea what they are talking about when it comes to NS. And its a shame because that is where I went and I was so excited for her to go there- those kind of questions I ALWAYS go to her neph about. My neph did say it wouldnt hurt her but there would be no point for her to get it. Good Luck :O)

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Minnie,

My neph told me not to get any vaccines while my immune system was compromised. I was on cyclosporine A and prednisone. He did, however, recommend that my family receive the vaccines to limit my exposure.

Be sure to talk to your neph directly. My neph's nurse told me the vaccines would be ok ... luckily, I asked him when he came into the exam room. He was very upset to find out one of his nurses was misinformed.

Good luck!

Christi

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That's pretty much what my neph told us, that it wouldn't necessarily hurt her to get it but he was concerned it wouldn't do anything (since she can't really mount the proper response to it due to the pred) and that it could cause her to relapse. The nurse in his office said that the pediatricians kind of group NS in with kidney diseases and think these kids need flu shots b/c they are high risk, but actually she was telling me NS is more of an immune response in the body gone awry and that the flu shot can actually cause some kids to relapse.

Bobbikins,
As far as her booster shots are concerned. Her doctor and the school nurse said I can bring in a note from the doctor's office excusing her from any shots b/c she's still on pred.

Kyleesmom,

I agree sometimes it is better to talk directly to the neph vs. the regular ped. Our ped's office just isn't that familiar with NS. Even when my daughter was in the ER last year the ER doc said he wasn't familiar with it in kids and took the name of our neph and called them to consult on her case before he treated her. That really made me feel better about her care there.

Thanks for all the great responses!

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Bobbikins-
Our daughter also does not get the live vaccines/immunizations. On your kindergarten card that the dr signs they just put that they are unable to be immunized. There is even a place to sign if it is your preference not to have them immunized. (They didn't even bat an eye at her school. I think so many parents are choosing not to immunize that to not have them is not out of place.)

Our daughter has a health care plan (Individualized student health care plan) and we made sure that it is noted that the school nurse contact us if there is an "out break of any infections disease". They let us know if chicken pox (ect) is going around or even if there is a bad cold in the room. We had both our PCP and Nephrologist review the plan BEFORE she started school.

We check on everything with our Nephrologist....It takes lots of work and time to contact them and keep them all straight but it is our job as parents to manage our children's disease.
Best of luck,
A

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Thanks to all of you for the advice. We, too, constantly check with the neph's office before we make any health decisions re. Matt.
AmosB- How old is your daughter and does she have to miss alot of school due to illness? Thw neph said that as he gets older, he won't get sick as often. I hope that's the case.
God bless you all!

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At least in our district the issue with booster shots for the kids is that your Dr can write the paperwork to say the child can not have them for medical reasons. At least here they can not deny the child be allowed in school over it. Would run allong the same lines as denyng them school if they didnt get immunizations due to religious reasons. But I am unsure what your state or county regulations are. Most school districts have websites these days and you can see what they require.
Our son is 13 and diagnosed 3 years ago. His Neph called and told us he needed to get the flushot due to middle school. But like everyone said, no live vaccine boosters and only the flu shot, not the spray. He did ok, just has felt blah for a few days and had trace proteins.

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Our son's PedNeph said it is ok to get flushots (which is not live) while on Prednisone - but said no flu mist since that is live.

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Bobbikins, Our daughter was dx at 18 months. She had a HORRIBLE 2 plus years but has now been in a remission for over a year. She is now 5 is in a K/1 combo class, plays soccer and I honestly never thought she would be like this. We are lucky to live where the weather is pretty consistent so she has not missed much of school. (It is 85 today!!) We have it set up that I get all the homework when she is out, we are informed of colds and what not at school. We even asked the teacher to place her at another table if it seems like another child maybe getting sick. I go in on Fridays and help clean. With all the budget crunching going on they clean the room once a week and I do it another. We supply disinfectant wipes and the kids do it in between.
Best of luck,
A

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AmosB- Thanks for the update! I had already thought about cleaning the classrooms and doing an inservice for the teachers and students about germs and handwashing (I'm a nurse) I'm so glad your daughter is doing so well! we live in Dallas so our weather isn't too bad either! Matt wants to play soccer next year and I hope he can!
Happy Halloween!
B

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My son Garrett has been on pred, chemo drugs, and/or anti-rejection meds for 11 1/2yrs continuously for NS- they have stressed every year for him to get the flu shot. All of the kidney patients at Children's Hosp. in New Orleans are strongly encouraged to get it. They cannot have the nasal spray for flu, (as that is a live virus), but the shot is not. Being immuno-compromised by a drug like pred,or any of the others makes it harder to fight the flu if they get it, and of course, they have delayed immune systems, so it can wreak havoc before the body thinks to fight it! My whole family has gotten the flu vaccine for the past 11yrs, and Garrett has only gotten the flu one time-none of us did, so it was not that the vaccine did not fight that strain, it was just the first year he was on cellcept and pred when he got the shot, and it just did not take (I think), because he was so sick for 10 days, and the doc said we would have caught it-last year he did not get the flu and was on the same meds. One year out of 11 isn't too bad though! I would say "please have your kids-and for those adults who are wondering-get the vaccine!!"

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I am 2 and 1/2 years into my second kidney transplant and my kidney doc was totally OK for me getting a flu shot even though I am on Prednisone.

Good to check with the nephrologist first and yeah, absolutely NO live vaccines!
- Kim

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We checked with the nephrologist before getting the flu shot and she said it was fine. We also had the "one time only' pneumonia one. Of course we are seniors.......
Amelie

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I got the flu shot and I am on Cellcept, usually people who are immunocompromised are strongly encouraged to get the flu shot...it's not a live vaccine if you get the shot. Since people are immunocompromised the vaccine just might not have the same strength that it would on a healthy person, but I believe it's still worth it.

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