Sunday, 13 December 2009

Pandering to my hypochondria.......

This weekend has been pretty much wiped out.

Thank goodness we had cleared our social calendar otherwise we would have been cancelling events left, right and centre.

I felt absolutely dreadful all day yesterday, and the limit of my endeavours was to lie, Camille-like on the sofa, swathed in fleecy blankets, dozing fitfully while watching wall-to-wall Film 4 all afternoon.

This morning I feel marginally more human, but I have no energy whatsoever and my arms and legs feel as if they're made from boiled spaghetti. So another restful day is in order.

Rampant hypochondria aside, I was really quite worried yesterday, as I've never had such a bad reaction to any seasonal flu jab before, and I (wrongly) assumed that the swine flu vaccination would have no substantial ill effect other than a sore arm for a few days.


I checked out the vaccination website, and discovered that each person who has the vaccine, should be given a leaflet to read BEFORE the shot. And I'm not talking about the useless NHS leaflet which extols the virtues of the vaccine but says not a word about the possible side effects.

Anyway, the official Pandemrix vaccine leaflet cites the following potential side effects:

The frequency of possible side effects listed below is defined using the following convention: Very common (affects more than 1 user in 10) Common (affects 1 to 10 users in 100) Uncommon (affects 1 to 10 users in 1,000) Rare (affects 1 to 10 users in 10,000) Very rare (affects less than 1 user in 10,000) The side effects listed below have occurred with Pandemrix in clinical studies in adults, including the elderly and in children aged from 3-9 years:
Very common:

  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Pain, redness, swelling or a hard lump at the injection site
  • Fever
  • Aching muscles, joint pain
I had all of the above

  • Warmth, itching or bruising at the injection site
  • Increased sweating, shivering, flu-like symptoms
  • Swollen glands in the neck, armpit or groin
I had all of the above.

  • Tingling or numbness of the hands or feet
  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain, feeling sick
  • Itching, rash
  • Generally feeling unwell
  • Sleeplessness
I had 1,2,3 and 6. Although tingling and dizziness I experience frequently due to MS so those could have been due to an exacerbation of my normal MS symptoms rather than the flu vaccine.

The leaflet continues....

These side effects usually disappear within 1-2 days without treatment. If they persist, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR.
The side effects listed below have occurred in the days or weeks after vaccination with vaccines given routinely every year to prevent flu. These side effects may occur with Pandemrix.

  • Generalised skin reactions including urticaria (hives)
I don't have that one, although my arm is extremely painful and has developed a hard area around the vaccination site.

The keep the best till last, and it is 'comforting' to know that these can occur up to a few weeks following vaccination.

  • Allergic reactions leading to a dangerous decrease of blood pressure, which, if untreated, may lead to shock. Doctors are aware of this possibility and have emergency treatment available for use in such cases.
  • Fits
  • Severe stabbing or throbbing pain along one or more nerves
  • Low blood platelet count which can result in bleeding or bruising
Hmmm. I have no. 3 on a regular basis too, again MS-related, so the jury's out on that one. However they keep the best till last.

Very rare

  • Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels which can cause skin rashes, joint pain and kidney problems)
  • Neurological disorders such as encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the central nervous system), neuritis (inflammation of nerves) and a type of paralysis known a Guillain-BarrĂ© Syndrome
If any of these side effects occur, please tell your doctor or nurse immediately. If any of the side effects gets serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet, please tell your doctor.

So, quite an extensive list of possible side effects, a mere 13 of which I have experienced over the past 48 hours. Let's hope it stops at that and another 'duvet day' today will see the rest of the symptoms off.

I'm off now to reclaim my spot on the sofa from Small Dog. I shall make a cosy nest and continue my convalescence with the aid of the TV remote and my laptop.

PP is preparing a restorative home-made soup for lunch.

I might even finish off my Christmas shopping online.


Debbie said...

When I spoke to my GP after having my Heart Surgery, they advised me to have the Swine Flu jab and the normal Flu jab and another one for Pnemonia. But having spoken to the Consultant he asked why they had recommended these jabs and I said because of my surgery. He asked whether I'd ever had a Flu jab before which I haven't, then told me not to bother having any of them.

Michelle's Mad World said...

I'm shocked to hear that you wasn't given the leaflet by the nurse or Doctor who gave you your jab! My Surgery are doing the latter and I know some GP's make you stay a further 15 mins just incase you go into anaphylactic shock. If I’d had known you weren’t aware of the side effects I would have dropped you an email. I had the same reaction as you and it wiped out 3days. Not sure you are aware, but it takes 3 weeks for your body to make the new antibodies to resist Swine Flu. I don’t suffer from side effects from the normal flu jab...but this one is totally different. :o) Wishing you well soon!!!!

Michelle :o)
P.S Many thanks for the link for the stone spray. ;o)

Tabitha Corsica said...

These things are always touted as "completely safe" but for many people they are not. Considering your MS (which I totally forgot about till you mentioned it), I might not have taken the vaccine. I don't like that information is withheld be we (the public and the patient) are considered too dumb to understand it. How can one make an informed decision if one is not informed?? Anyway, enough of the soapbox....hope the end of the day finds you feeling fit,


Sandra Morris said...

Thanks Michelle.
I was given the generic NHS leaflet but not the actual vaccine leaflet. The nurse did say
to wait for 5 minutes after the jab before going home. I felt fine for several hours afterwards but late afternoon I started to feel ill. I do feel better today but still not well.
I didn't have any side effects from the seasonal flu jab either but as you say, this one is different!!
How long ago did you have yours?

PS I've ordered a can of the Gotham Grey stone spray for my pavilion. I'll let you know what it's like. If you look on Ebay it ranges in price from around £6 up to £13!

Sandra Morris said...

People with MS are one of the 'priority groups' for the swine flu vaccine. I discussed it at length with my MS nurse and she strongly recommended having it, because if I caught swine flu, aside from the potential bad effects of the flu itself, there would be a high risk of a subsequent MS relapse.

I think I was just unlucky :-(

Thanks everyone for the good wishes though :-)

Anonymous said...

Both my husband and i had this three weeks ago. We both fell unwell for about three days. However my arm is still swollen and sore with a hard red lump at the sight of the injection
When i asked the doctor about this i was told that it could be about 2-3 months for the swelling to go down.
My husband has not had this problem at at.


rosanna said...

Best wishes Sandra, I hope you'll get over it in a few hours.
BTW I was reccomended NOT to have the swine flu jab by my GP, even though I work with public. Matteo had swine flu and he fully recovered in 4 days.I wonder if the illness is worst than the jab ?! Hugs Rosanna x

Michelle's Mad World said...

I had my jab done 3 weeks on Friday, so I'm fully protected. Although I 'suspect' it works like the normal flu jab inasmuch that it doesn't stop you getting the flu, you just end up with a bad cold etc. I was very ill when I had normal flu years ago and I ended up having permanent asthma, tis why I never pass up the seasonal flu jab now (I had the pneumonia jab done a couple years back too!).

I will be interested to see what this stone spray looks like!! :o)
Michelle :o)

Anonymous said...

You have had a rotten time after your injection.

I suppose if they told people what the side effects were and the probability of getting at least some of them then people would be less inclined to accept the injection.

With your MS though you have to weigh up three or four days of feeling rotten after the injection or consider what the implications are of getting full blown swine flu.

Between a rock and a hard thing I think.

I do hope you feel better tomorrow though.


Debie Lyons said...

Sandra I hope you are feeling much better and soon. ((((((((( hugs )))))
Debie xxxxx

Anonymous said...

I hope you are well again. A perfectly healthy New Zealand lady ended up in a wheelchair with Transverse Myelitis after the swine flu jab.