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Sometimes, the flu vaccine can cause Guillain-Barre syndrome (“GBS”).  It can also cause GBS to be triggered if it was already underlying.  As an injury, GBS has been recognized by the Vaccine Court, where these claims are filed.  The flu vaccine is one of the vaccines listed on the Vaccine Injury Table published and monitored by the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), as one of the vaccines that can cause harm.

GBS “is characterized by symmetrical weakness that usually affects the lower limbs first, and rapidly progresses in an ascending fashion. Patients generally notice weakness in their legs, with or without dysesthesias (numbness or tingling). As the weakness progresses upward, usually over periods of hours to days, the arms and facial muscles also become affected. Frequently, the lower cranial nervesmay be affected, leading to bulbar weakness, oropharyngeal dysphagia (drooling, or difficulty swallowing and/or maintaining an open airway) and respiratory difficulties. Facial weakness is also common.” Wikipedia.

The causal connection between the flu vaccine and GBS is not always initially recognized when you present to your doctor or emergency room with symptoms of GBS.  However, a skilled and experienced doctor, who looks at your medical history in detail (including your receipt of a vaccine) should make the connection.  If you have symptoms of GBS, be sure to tell you doctor when and where you received the flu vaccine (or any other recent vaccine) and discuss the vaccination as a possible cause of a GBS diagnosis.

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