Is the flu shot the reason for my Scleroderma?

In the fall of 2006, I had a flu shot at the urging of my primary care. I was a pharma rep who was in and out of offices full of sick people. Reluctantly, I agreed. About a week prior to the shot, I also had a back injection for a herniated disc. I was getting those on and off for a few months. I never had a reaction to the back injections but with in hours of getting the flu shot, my chest started to tighten and I felt like I was getting sick. Within two weeks, I had gained 10 pounds, could barely walk..my calves were so tight and painful. My fingers were so swollen. A month after the flu shot, I developed Raynauds. I still felt awful..fatigued and just not my self. Went through a battery of tests..the thought was maybe I was allergic to eggs; negative. My ANA went from normal in 2005 to 1280 in 2006. I have never heard of anyone else with this high of an ANA. I now have nail bed changes in addition to the Raynauds. The titers that tell the specific type of Scleroderma are negative. My pulmonary function tests/EKG are all negative. Yet based on the high ANA, nail bed changes/swelling in my hands and Raynauds, my Rheumatologist is convinced that I have Scleroderma. As to what type, is to be determined. Has anyone else had a similar experience??

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I do not have a Diagnosis yet, have a titer of 1:1280, speckled pattern, all other autoantibodies negative. Getting a 2nd opinon next week, react to nearly all foods, have lost 20 pounds, slight shortness of breath on exertion thought pulmonary function tests normal ??? said ratio better then last year but volume down 500 cc's ??? I broke down last year and got a flu shot and a Pneumonia vaccine and have wondered if either of these have contributed to my symptoms ?? esp flu shot tho I did not get sick after having it. Will ask the Rheumy on Wed.

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My ANA is >2560 centromere. My rhuemy recommends the flu shot but I am always reluctant getting anything-I hate all the meds I put in my body now so anything I can avoid I do.

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I've done a lot of reading about scleroderma, and I've never seen any suggestion that it can be caused by a flu shot or any other vaccination. Getting the flu, though, can be devastating, or fatal, especially if your lungs are already compromised by scleroderma. My doctors always strongly recommend it, and I don't hesitate.
My ANA is also 1:1280, for over 20 years now.

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Never had a flu shot before I got Scleroderma. I get them now so I don't get sick.

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Do not get the flu shot. My doctor also recommended it, but I don't feel like I need it since I haven't had the flu in years.

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I am not an expert, but I doubt you got Raynaud's and possible Scleroderma from a flu shot. The timing was most probably coincidental. Now that you know you have an autoimmune disorder (Raynaud's) and possibly have Scleroderma, you should seriously consider getting the flu shot. With autoimmune your immune system isn't normal and you are very prone to infection, colds, etc. I would highly recommend you get the flu shot.

Good Luck!

Cava

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since I have had scleroderma I have had a yearly flu shot, the shingles vaccination and anti rabies because I work with dogs. i don't think I have had any problems related to them.

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I imagine that it was a coincidence; I haven't heard of any of the ingredients of the flu shot being implicated in autoimmune disease. I got pneumonia in the fall of 2009 and when I recovered I got the H1N1 and regular flu vaccines. My current symptoms started up a few months later. I don't feel that the timing was close enough for it to be related. I got the flu shot last year too without any reaction. I would rather risk a reaction to the vaccine anyway than risk getting a serious bout of flu, especially because it can put people with scleroderma at increased risk of lung complications.

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I am interested to see what the Rheum said. I saw a different allergist after all this and he is extremely intelligent. He said that it is very rare but possible to have an autoimmune reaction to the flu shot. Again he said it is very rare, but I can't find a doctor that would give me the flu shot again. The rheum. said he would not go on the record to say because if he did many might not get the flu shot and then that would complicates matter further. So my conclusion is that maybe I was predisposed to having this autoimmune condition and that this was it's trigger.

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Thanks for all the responses. It is nice to be able converse with others in similiar situations.

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I saw a new Allergist ( Dr. John Yuen )yesterday who is also a Rheumatologist, forgot to ask about the flu shot, pneumonia vaccine, ran out of time, will ask the wonderful new Rheumatolgist I met with today when she calls me with lab results. Dr. Mary Wemple, PACMED, Seattle, took as much time as needed even tho she was a half hour behind. She and Allergist/ Rheumatologist work in same office--8 tubes of blood drawn today, all sorts of antibodies, thyroid, possiblity I have an auto immune thyroid related celiac disease, is being ruled out, might also have sjogren's ??? Will see what labs say and then see if I need a lip biopsy to help confirm Sjogren's.

Thanks for the info on the possible link between flu shot---my symptoms started shortly after flu shot ! I will be 70 in 6 weeks and it is only the 2nd flu shot I think I have ever had, resisted and then finally broke down and decided to take it on the advice of about 4 Dr's ! Sorry I did now.

Kathleen

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Dear Bohreak, has your Allergist or Rheumatologist linked environmental or food allergies to other autoimmune diseases ?

K

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I went to the allergist to see if the swelling in my fingers was some type of allergy. I told him what happened and after discussing my situation he was pretty convinced it was from the shot. He said that he wouldn't give it to me without consulting the infectious disease specialist. He did test me and I don't have any food allergies. I have mild seasonal ones requiring only the occassional Claritin.

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