There have been differing opinions over the years as to whether those of us with CFS and Fibromyalgia should get a flu shot. I have read some opinions saying that because we are so susceptible to getting sick that we should. Then I have also read that because we have weak immune systems we should not because we would most likely develop the flu after getting the shot. Because it takes our bodies longer to recover and any sickness can lead into a flare, it is not recommended.
Because of reports of severe relapses following immunization, Charles Lapp, MD, Director of the Hunter-Hopkins Center in Charlotte, NC, generally does not recommend flu shots for his fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome patients. There are, however, two exceptions:
Patients who have taken flu vaccinations in the past and tolerated them well.
Patients who have a serious chronic illness (such as emphysema, diabetes or heart disease) in addition to FM or ME/CFS.
Charles Shepherd, MD, a U.K. doctor who is a member of the Chief Medical Officers Working Group on CFS/ME at the U.K. Department of Health, agrees with Dr. Lapp. He has found that a substantial percentage of his ME/CFS patients have mild-to-moderate relapses after receiving flu vaccinations. On the other hand, some doctors feel the benefits outweigh the risks because the effects of the flu on FM and ME/CFS patients can be severe and long lasting.
You have to determine for your own health’s sake, and with the advice of your doctor, whether or not you feel you will benefit or not from getting a flu shot. Are you mostly homebound with limited exposure to other people? Or do you have school-aged children who bring home tons of germs daily? Talk to your doctor and find out from them what they recommend.