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Thread: ? regarding pneumonia and flu shot

  1. #1

    ? regarding pneumonia and flu shot

    I just got home from getting my flu shot. While I was there, I asked the nurse if I should get a pneumonia shot, especially since I spent a week in the hospital last year with pneumonia. She said, "Duh, I dunno". Okay, she didn't say the "Duh" part, but she didn't know. She said I should talk to my doctor about it next time I saw her, but I have no plans on seeing my doctor anytime soon. So I'm wondering, are SCI's encouraged to get pneumonia shots?

    Also, I could swear that last year when I had my physical, the doctor asked me if I wanted a flu shot. I asked if it could be given in my leg, where I have no feeling, and she said no. So I passed on the shot. Today, I asked if it could be given in my leg, and the nurse said, "Sure, why not?" So I took it in the leg. I just wanted to double check here if it is okay to get it in the leg?

    Shannon
    33 year old T4/5 complete
    25 years post

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Shannon, as long as you are not allergic to the ingredients in the pnuemonia shot or have a current fever or are on certain antibiotics it is a good idea for people with SCIs to get the Pnuomovax shot. I had mine a few years ago in my docs office at the same time I had the flu shot. Just need to put them in different arms. The flu shot normally doesn't cause much discomfort so no reason not to get it where you can't feel it.

    When I got the pnuemonia shot the information sheet did warn that it does cause mild to moderate discomfort in many people. Now if you get dysreflexia easily it may not be a good idea to get it below your injury. I'd be interested in what the nurses say on this too. Cause with me that shot arm hurt a lot the following day. But shots can be given almost anywhere depending on if they need to go into a muscle or just under the skin. I learned the hard way that I cannot get butt shots. I tore a bicep tendon in rehab and got a shot of demoral in my butt. I spent all night with that leg doing serious spasms. Never again! Front of thigh, arm, not wild about it but even stomach just leave my tush alone!

    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

  3. #3
    Thanks Sue,

    The more I thought about it, I think the reason I was told in the past that I couldn't get the flu shot in the leg is because there's so little muscle in my legs. That's what I'm thinking I was told, but I could be wrong.

    As for the for the other shot causing discomfort, I'm wondering if it would cause dysreflexia? Interesting thought.

  4. #4
    I was taught that giving in intramuscular injection below the level of injury in a person with SCI was not a good idea for two reasons: the muscles don't work normally so we don't know about the rate of absorption of the drug. Larger volume injections could also cause abscesses. In the case of the flu vaccine, the volume is only 0.5 cc's (a very small quantity) and the vaccine can actually be administered subcutaneously (just under the skin), so in this case, I don't think it makes a bit of difference. So I believe you are safe and protected.

    Pneumonia vaccine gives immunity to a large number of strains of the bacteria that causes most of the pneumonias acquired in the community: streptococcus pneumoniae. It's probably a very good idea for all people with SCI but especially quads to be vaccinated. It remain a disputed point but you may need to be revaccinated every 5 to 10 years for pneumonia.

    Sorry you got the duh from your nurse.

    RAB

  5. #5
    Thank you nurse.

    (Sorry if my duh comment sounded disrespectful. It wasn't intended that way)

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Beaker you might look under the sticky topic up top on Flu Season. Someone besides me found the Pnuomovax a major pain in the arm. I mean I went through 4 weeks where every Saturday morning we went down a row of medics and had gun type vaccines administered in both arms during basic training. None hurt like that pnueomonia shott. Yea, hate to be the bearer or bad news. I'd definitely get it somwhere where it won't set up dysreflexia if you're prone to that. And RAB, I sure wish you were there when I got the tush shot. Why can't demarol be given orally? It's not like it was my idea to take a pain med. I wanted ice packs.

    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

  7. #7
    Um, looks like I won't be getting the pnuomovax! It sounds like I should not get it where I have no sensation. I don't want to get it where I can feel it, so I guess I'm wimping out on this one. Hope I don't end up regretting it.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Beaker, It is important to get the pnuemonia vaccine. It does smart a couple hours after you get it and that can last 2 to 3 days. Ice packs help. If you really hate this idea, talk to your PCP and see if he can warm the vial, find the place of least pain to give to you. Maybe give you a red sucker and 2 vicodin for not crying? Just kidding. You got the flu shot and that's a start!

    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

  9. #9
    Well... I suppose if they are willing to give me a sucker if I don't cry, I'll give it a shot.

    Seriously though, I have this really bad needle phobia. I know it's silly, because it really doesn't hurt thatmuch, and I know it's way better than getting pneumonia, but I have a terrible time bringing myself to do it. I don't know why the more shots I get, the more I hate them. Shots used to be no big deal.

    Every Monday night I watch my favorite shows, Trauma, Life in the ER and Resident Life (at least I think that is what they are called). I can watch everything except for when they put a needle in someone. I see a needle and I turn my head. I know, I'm weird.

  10. #10
    shannon, you are NOT weird at all. lots of people (me included) are needle phobic. I just got out of hospital (lots of yucky needles and drips) and was told it is vey comon in people who have been through major medical trauma like sci, cancer,accidents.

    Try doing a google search for it....there are a few good sites with info.

    I've had tetnus shot in my leg 10 years ago, and my arm last month. I would go for leg next time as my arm swelled up and made pushing/transfering very hard for a few days. Guess different doctors/nurses have different opinions.

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