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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Should Celiacs Get Flu Shots?
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69 posts in this topic

My 13-year old son had some mysterious stomach pain last month--3 episodes that were very painful, but different from how gluten feels. These he felt almost in his back. The doc gave him belladonna, which helped 2 of the three episodes.

We never figured out what caused those episodes, but at the time almost every family around here had kids sick with one virus or another. (Though nobody else in our family got the flu, so I can't say it was viral, either.)

So I'm wondering, is basic stomach flu worse for celiacs than the general population? Do you get a flu shot, or do the shots contain any fillers or ingredients that might be a concern?

Carol

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The flu shot is generally safe for celiacs (though not if you have an egg allergy) - vaccine debate aside, but "stomach flus" are usually not flus, in the first place. (They're generally food poisoning of some variety.)

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the ful shot is not for the stomach flu it is more for the cold-type flu that effects your upper respritory tract not your stomach

i hope he feels better!

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Flu shots generally have mercury and aluminum in them (and other very questionable things). Studies have shown that all these years of flu shots have done nothing to decrease the incidence of deaths from the flu, especially amongst the elderly. They are pretty useless (other than making the pharmaceutical companies super rich). If you eat right and take vitamins to allow your immune system to do its job, you are much less likely to get the flu.

And yes, stomach flu isn't addressed by the flu shots anyway.

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Also--wash hands every time you leave a building or come home! (As well as the obvious bathroom times.) This is something that teenage boys rarely do. Purell and wipees do NOT do the job. Purell might kill organisms, but they stay on your hands--and if they make their way to your mouth, your immune system will still be set off.

I did find that not eating out made a HUGE difference in how often we got sick (as in, we DID NOT get sick when we did not eat out). Hmmmm.

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They are pretty useless (other than making the pharmaceutical companies super rich). If you eat right and take vitamins to allow your immune system to do its job, you are much less likely to get the flu.

So are you saying that doctors, nurses, and pharmaceutical companies are all lying and that flu shots do nothing at all to keep you from getting the flu? I don't take the flu shot to prevent death; I do so in hopes of avoiding getting the flu. If you have evidence that flu shots are of no value at all you really should provide the evidence rather than making a blanket "studies have shown" statement.

I know this is just anecdotal, but before 1985 I got the flu two out of five years when I wasn't getting the shot. I've gotten the shot every year since then and have remained flu free for 21 years. Same with my wife.

richard

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i have gotten the flu shot every year and i have NEVER gotten the flu before and i can't afford to miss more school than i have to i just use it as a preventative measure so i know i won't get it.

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So are you saying that doctors, nurses, and pharmaceutical companies are all lying and that flu shots do nothing at all to keep you from getting the flu? richard

We already KNOW the pharm companies have a long history of lying. There is a an enormous amount of documentation of this. Just look up Polio and SV-40.

Do the doctors and nurses lie? No, I don't believe they are lying. I think they are misinformed.

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I think we should stick to the question ... which was, should Celiacs get the flu shot.

Not what is in it, or what you 'think' is in it. Or even whom is informed, or mis-informed.

Celiacs should get the shot if they are NOT allergic to eggs, they don't want the flu ... having said that, I don't think we are more at risk getting the flu, just that a lot of us are under weight, sometimes ill with gluten contamination and have other health problems. Getting flu on top of it just makes things a good deal worse.

And YES I get the shot every year, and have not had the flu since I started. I have no problems from the shot, and certainly don't miss have the flu!

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Right on Ursa Major. I ditto everything she said.

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I think we should stick to the question ... which was, should Celiacs get the flu shot.

Not what is in it, or what you 'think' is in it. Or even whom is informed, or mis-informed.

Celiacs should get the shot if they are NOT allergic to eggs, they don't want the flu ... having said that, I don't think we are more at risk getting the flu, just that a lot of us are under weight, sometimes ill with gluten contamination and have other health problems. Getting flu on top of it just makes things a good deal worse.

What is actually in the flu shot IS pertinent to whether celiacs (or anybody else) should get it. Mercury IS in any flu shot that is not coming from an individual-dose ampule. That is fact, not debatable. Mercury is dangerous for everybody, but especially to people with autoimmune disorders. And it crosses both the placenta and the blood-brain barrier. You still want to insist that I'm not sticking to the question?

Anecdotal evidence as well as the studies mentioned by Ursa Major, indicate that getting the flu shot not only is not likely to protect you from the flu, but IS likely to screw up your immune system. Having your immune system screwed around with makes things "a good deal worse."

Obviously, some of you here have had good experiences with the flu shot. Just as obviously, MANY of us here have had TERRIBLE experiences with the flu shot and other vaccines.

I'm glad for your sake that you have not had a bad reaction to the flu shot. But I rather suspect that, if YOU had had a severe reaction to it, you might not be insisting that every celiac should get it if they're not allergic to eggs.

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Just like the rest of the population each individual should decide whether a flu shot is beneficial to their health. After a bad bout of the flu about ten years ago I try (I have missed a couple of years) to get a flu shot each year. Other than a sore arm for a couple of days I have never had a problem. I have also be flu free.

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acousticmom,

to answer your question-about if Celiacs get the flu worse-no, they should not. As long as they are on a strict gluten free diet and are not having complications from being glutened, their everyday life *should* be the same. That is the joy of being a Celiac (yes, I said joy!) - it is one of the few diseases-autoimmune, at that!- that we know the trigger, and taking the trigger out solves the majority of problems (for most people). So no, getting the flu would not be any worse BECAUSE we are Celiacs.

Now, it can be frustrating trying to find comfort food, and double checking medicines, but thats another issue :)

Laura

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On a related note, it is suspected that celiacs are more prone to blood borne pneumonia and hence it is recommended that they get the pneumovax. The pneumovax, like the flu shot, is not designed to prevent you from ever getting the infection that is being vaccinated against, but rather to introduce the immune system to the offender ahead of time, in a controlled manner, so that infection is less severe, thus reducing the risk of life-threatening complications. Usually, life threatening complications is something to worry about only is you are particularly susceptible to something - such as asthmatics or the immuno-compromised with respiratory infections, or - apparently - celiacs with the blood borne pneumonias.

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As an asthmatic they used to say I should have a flu shot but I had serious allergic reactions to the shot. As eggs can be a problem for me and then the found out that anyone who is allergic to wasps and bee stings should NOT have the shots. The shots are a guess at best anyway. From year to year they guess at what the flu strain will be that year but there is nothing saying it will be that strain.

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Okay, Richard, you want evidence and studies? Here are a few that are fairly eye opening.

...

Okay, I could post about 60,000 more, but I think this will do.

Sorry to go off topic, everyone...

Those sites do not, with two exceptions, refer to published studies. Most of them, in fact, refer to the same doctor and the exact same quote. The four published studies I see referenced are not even entirely applicable to the question at hand as one discusses the efficacy of flu shot in children under the age of 2, and the other in *healthy* adults under the age of 65, two were surveys over numerous years that provide evidentiary findings that should be followed up on but aren't really conclusive on their own, and one was a metastudy. You are correct in pointing out that those make a case against 'de rigueur' vaccination (and the history behind that *is* quite interesting), but that is a far cry from saying that the vaccine should be avoided at all costs, including at-risk populations. It's something every individual needs to weigh - just like all other medical decisions.

(I got a good laugh out of the site that seems to want to shock people with a CDC quote saying that the flu shot is ineffective at treating influenza. Of course it is! It's a vaccine, not a treatment! Someone authoring that site it counting on the stupidity of the public in trying to sell that as 'shocking'.)

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You know, Tiffany, in my doctors office is a nurse and a lab technician (well, the lab technician is in the same building, but doesn't work for the doctor's office) , who tell everybody who wants to hear it (when the doctors aren't around) to avoid the flu shots. Both of them never had the flu before getting the shot. The year they got it, they were sick with one episode of the flu after another, all winter. They both said that they had never in their life been sick that much, and feeling so terrible over such a long period of time. Neither one of them (one a lady in her forties, and one in her fifties) will EVER get the flu shot again.

I've heard many stories like those just in my circle of friends/acquaintances. I don't really care about published studies. Just hearing how sick it made people I know, and actually GIVING them the flu, rather than preventing it, is evidence enough for me, that the flu shot is a terrible idea.

Besides the point that every year the people that distribute the vaccine are GUESSING at which strains may be making their appearance that year. It's like a lottery, really. Who knows how they do it, maybe vote on it, and choosing the ones that get the most votes? :ph34r:

Last year they admitted that they chose all the wrong strains, meaning that last years shots were completely ineffective for the flu strains that made people sick. In fact, I think I read that they did the same thing this year. Meaning, that anybody who still gets the shot now, should know better, as it obviously won't do any good.

As for the CDC guy saying that the vaccine is ineffective in treating influenza, I still think that is shocking, as it shows what an idiot he is.

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Actually, it wasn't last year they got the wrong strain, it was the year before. And they use some decent estimating, looking at what's popping up on other sides of the earth and in climates that support the flu at the time of estimating to try to predict what will get to the US for our season - but you're right; it's a guestimate. I'm not sure why it shocks you that they're doing this - there are far too many strains to innoculate against all of them; it would send the immune system into a tailspin even if it were technologically feasible.

For every anecdotal case of "I got the flu shot and got sick", you'll get "I got the flu shot and didn't get sick". That's why anecdotal just doesn't cut it on epidemiological studies. I'm not saying "yes, everyone get one", of course. But there are sound reasons to get them as well, and scare tactics aren't sufficient reason to say no. (They are sufficient reason, imho, to stop and evaluate.)

(The CDC quote isn't really shocking, as taken, as it is, has no context. It could be shocking in some contexts, but as it has no context, can't be judged on 'idiocy' as it stands.)

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found out that anyone who is allergic to wasps and bee stings should NOT have the shots.

I hadn't heard that before--that is interesting. I have had very strange reactions to wasp and bee stings--first round of testing said that I was allergic, second round said that I wasn't. I never thought to make a connection between that and any other problems, but maybe there is a link.

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For every anecdotal case of "I got the flu shot and got sick", you'll get "I got the flu shot and didn't get sick".

Maybe it's just where I live, but I have heard many, many, many, many more stories like Ursa Major's than like Richard's. And Ursa Major's story mirrors my own experience, as well.

As for the "at-risk" population, those are the same people who are at serious risk from the mercury in the flu shot from the multi-dose via. They are also more likely than others to have complications from the shot itself.

Seems like it would make more sense to make a bigger campaign on basic sanitary behavior.

When I was leaving the health club the other day and returning my locker key (in exchange for my ID card) to the front desk, the young man behind the desk (a pleasant, bright fellow who does NOT come across as an idiot) was blowing his nose--very juicily. He hastily pocketed his kleenex and held out his hand for the key. I have never done anything like this before, but I looked at him in horror and said, "You know, that's really gross. Would you mind washing your hands before you touch my card?"

The thing is, what he did is what maybe 90 % of the population does. They blow their noses, sneeze into their hands,not their elbows--and then open the doors, push the shopping carts, hand you your change (or your food), etc.

And let's not overlook the interesting marketing practices of the pharm industry in general, but especially about the flu shot. Remember when only "at-risk" people were suggested to receive the flu shot? And then, suddenly, the pharm industry announced a shortage of flu shots? And everybody--not just the "at risk" group, but EVERYBODY--rushed to get a flu shot? The doctors were turning people away if they were not high risk, and the not-high-risk people were having absolute tantrums about it!

I heard people talking about how they lied and said they or their children had asthma so that they could get a flu shot. Not just a few, people, either.

But before then, NOBODY bothered with a flu shot, and I personally didn't know anybody who had a particularly difficult time with the real influenza--in fact, I only knew a handful of people who actually got anything more than the common cold. Back then, most people called intestinal viruses "flu," anyway--and that's why they were all rushing to get the shot; they all seemed to think that the flu shot would prevent that.

Strongly recommending a flu shot to the general public is like strongly recommending gluten as a healthy diet to the general public. There are too many people who will have terrible reactions.

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You know Tiffany, you can't prove that those people who say that they got the flu shot and didn't get the flu that year, wouldn't have had it anyway, with or without the shot. So, that they didn't get it doesn't prove anything, other than they didn't get sick from the shot itself.

I've heard of one nursing home, where every one of the residents and nurses got the flu one year, except for the one person who refused the flu shot and took vitamins instead.

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"Maybe it's just where I live, but I have heard many, many, many, many more stories like Ursa Major's than like Richard's. And Ursa Major's story mirrors my own experience, as well."

Pretty weird. I don't personally know of a single person who's had a bad reaction to flu shots and a very high percentage of people I l know get it. My wife is a nurse and virtually EVERY single doctor and nurse she knows gets the shot every year. Same with most of the teachers I know.

"Seems like it would make more sense to make a bigger campaign on basic sanitary behavior."

Not sure about where you live, but every single year I'm bombarded with newspaper and TV stories about how to avoid getting sick in the winter -- washing hands, etc.

"But before then, NOBODY bothered with a flu shot, and I personally didn't know anybody who had a particularly difficult time with the real influenza--"

Every year tens of thousands of people in the U.S. die from the flu. I'm not saying the flu shot would have prevented a specific death, but I WOULD say that dying from the flu seems like a "difficult" result.

richard

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"Last year they admitted that they chose all the wrong strains, meaning that last years shots were completely ineffective for the flu strains that made people sick."

Actually, they pretty much nailed it last year. The year before they didn't do so well.

"In fact, I think I read that they did the same thing this year. Meaning, that anybody who still gets the shot now, should know better, as it obviously won't do any good."

"Thinking" you read something and then giving advice based on that is really a bad idea. Do you tell people with celiac to eat a product because you "think" you read it was OK?

According to the CDC's latest report, it appears so far that the A strain in the flu shot is the most prevalent one this year, at least among the confirmed cases they've typed. It's too early to tell on the others.

richard

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