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Flu Shot ?

Rexmax
Posts: 45
Joined: Apr 2017

Hi ya all, received CT results today all good (PET denied again) Labs good. I'm going on vacation next month yippee.... Dr suggested possibly getting flu shot since I'll be in airports, planes etc. Have any of you had problems with the flu shot while being in Rituxan treatment. I have never had the flu shot ( almost 63 yr old). Besides being sick last Dec 2016 when all this came about I hadn't had a cold flu or anything in over 15 years....Really undecided about getting the shot as I know some healthy people who still ended up having flu after getting the shot......Any advice or thoughts are greatly appreciated.....Sending hugs and prayers to all in need....Thanks again for being here for me.......Lillian 

Sal0101's picture
Sal0101
Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2015

The minute I was diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2015 my oncologist insisted on the flu shot. I’ve had one every year since.  She was even more insistent this year when I took a trip to Sicily in November, and I’ve been in remission for over a year.  I had no side effects at all.

Congrats on the clear CT! 

Sharon

Evarista
Posts: 254
Joined: May 2017

My oncologist was adamant that I get a flu shot (vaccine started being offered this last fall about 4 months after finishing my chemo).  She specifically wanted me to get the Quadrivalent vaccine as opposed to the Trivalent.  You'll need to check providers in your error because not all of them offer the Quadrivalent (CVS did).  The easiest way that I found to get this done was to use the CVS online reservation system...That way the have the prescription all ready form you when you go in.

Given this year's flu situation, I'm surprised that anyone would consider not getting the vaccine.  Just because people you know still got the flu, it does not mean that it will not offer you some protection.  In addition, there's the whole "herd immunity" thing...Basically the more people who get at least some protection from the vaccine, the harder it is to spread the virus.  This year's flu is killing people and people like us (immunocompromised) are at higher risk.

When I'm in airports, crowded places, I still wear a face mask.  Not only does it offer some protection, it signals others to keep some distance.  Wash your hands and carry "wipes".  Have a great trip!

Rocquie's picture
Rocquie
Posts: 828
Joined: Mar 2013

Your car's seat belt does not guarantee you will not be injured in an accident, but that is not a reason to not use it. The flu shot may not guarantee that you won't contract the flu but is not a reason to not get it. Go ahead and get the shot; there is no reason not to.

 

po18guy
Posts: 989
Joined: Nov 2011

It can't hurt and it just might help. A paticularly nasty strain of the flu is going around and the elderly and immune suppressed are most at risk. That's 2 strikes against me. Since "R" kills your B cells, you might consider wearing a msk and gloves. I do.

PBL
Posts: 182
Joined: Jul 2016

I RUSHED to get my dose as soon as my hematologist said "with your low IgGs, you need a flu shot (plus others)". Even if it doesn't 100% guarantee you will not get the flu, it may at least ensure your bout (if you do cross its path...) is attenuated - which can really make a difference, especially with this year's killer strain.

My philosophy for the past 18 months has basically been "I haven't been through chemo to let myself get killed by [fill in as appropriate]!"

PBL

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3257
Joined: May 2012

Congratulations on your CT, Lillian.

There is no scientific reason for you to not get a flu shot, and tremendous evidence that you should.

My oncologist not only required that I get an annual flu shot, but a pneumonia shot as well.  The pneumonia shot is for life, with boosters required later, based on a somewhat complex timescale.

Also get a shingles vaccine.  Shingles is a horrible disease, and very common in people who have had Lymphoma.

max

PBL
Posts: 182
Joined: Jul 2016

Max, as always, sees the wider picture. My hematologist also had me get the pneumonia shots. No need in my case for the shingles vaccine, as I got shingles in June 2017 (confirm: no fun) and have been popping Valaciclovir twice daily since. Fun fact: it also took care of those sores on the roof of my mouth which I had in between each Ritux shots... Guess they must have been shingles (i.e. chicken pox) after all!

Evarista
Posts: 254
Joined: May 2017

Do be very sure to check with your oncologist before getting a shingles vaccine.  It is contra-indicated in patients who are immunosuppressed (because it is a live virus vaccine).  You need to be sure that your immune system has recovered sufficiently and your doctor is your best guide on that.

Influenze vaccine is not live virus, so it is OK for us.

Sal0101's picture
Sal0101
Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2015

Along with the flu shot I also got the pneumonia vaccine and am in the process of getting all my other vaccines due to my stem cell transplant, BUT the one shot I was told NOT to get was the Shingles Vaccine Especially during treatment. That might have changed now but i would also definately check. 

Sharon

lindary's picture
lindary
Posts: 633
Joined: Mar 2015

Diagnosed in Dec 2014 and ordered to get the flu shot immediately. I had never had one and never had the flu. did not get one in 2015 because I was being preped for Stem Cell, Dr orders. Got on in 2016 & 2017. About 2 weeks ago I got the flu for the first time in my life. Knocked me out for almost 3 days and slow going for a week after that. I have not gotten the pneumonia shot or shingles. My husband got shingles while I was going through chemo, yes he had gotten the shot. His Dr. was more worried about me than him. I probably should askmy Dr about these other 2 shots. 

Evarista
Posts: 254
Joined: May 2017

The CDC, as well as many cancer websites, are very clear on this point:  avoid live virus vaccines for the severely immunocompromised.  In addition to the Shingles vaccine, there are several others, mostly pediatric vaccines.  This is part of the reason that we are cautioned to avoid small children immediately after our immunosuprressive chemo.  A low-dose measles may be fine for them, not so much for us and their parents may not tell you that they just got their MMR.  Here is a concise website addressing the issue:  https://www.vaccines.gov/basics/types/index.html If you have any concerns, check with your doctor.

Lindary, so glad that you recovered from your flu and glad you had the shot to help you with that.

Sal0101's picture
Sal0101
Posts: 124
Joined: Sep 2015

Evarista, 

Thank you for the link to the article on vaccines.  I’m comparing it to the schedule they gave me after my SCT.  I’m a bit behind, but the article helps me understand more. 

Sharon

Rexmax
Posts: 45
Joined: Apr 2017

Got the flu shot today, however bcbs wouldn't cover the pneumonia shot, and too costly for me. My Dr. told me to try a pharmacy as they would most likely be less expensive, so that is on my to do list! Thanks for all the replys, articles and encouragement. I trust you all and I know you wouldn't steer me in the wrong direction! Have great day......Lillian 

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