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Allergic To Flu Vaccines?

November 25, 2009, 5:12 PM by Kelli Grant

Allergic To Flu Vaccines?
As many people continue to get vaccinated against the H1N1 flu virus, not everyone is able to get the shot or the mist.  Not because they don't qualify, but because of their allergies.

If you're allergic to eggs, you likely know you can't get any kind of flu vaccine. It's because those types of vaccines are harvested in eggs and can contain small amounts of egg protein. If you're allergic, you'd know it.

But Sanford Infectious Disease Dr. Wendell Hoffman says many people confuse a reaction with allergies. If your arm is tender to touch after the shot or it's red near the injection site, it's just a common side effect. But if you get hives, have difficulty breathing or your blood pressure drops significantly, that's an allergic reaction.

“If there is a history, however, of these kinds of other more significant reactions, they need to talk to their physician and possibly be evaluated by an allergist,” Hoffman said.

But Hoffman says if you are allergic to eggs, you still may be able to get the H1N1 vaccine. Under an allergist's supervision, the vaccine can be given in small doses over time to literally fool the immune system.

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