A Utah mother claims the flu shot led to her son's sudden illness and violent death.
But doctors here in the Magnolia state say the benefits of the flu shot far out way any perceived risks.
with more than one strain of the virus in circulation, experts urge you to make to advantage of the protection the vaccine offers.
On October 23rd Chandler Webb of Salt Lake City Utah became violently ill immediately after his mother said he got his first flu shot.
Within 24 hours the 19-year-old was hospitalized and developed brain swelling.
"He said he never shook so hard his whole life. He had the worst headache, throw up. They checked every virus, every tick, every fungus," said Lori Webb.
Chandler slipped into a coma and never awoke.
The grieving mother blames the flu shot.
Utah health officials reported seeing associations of encephalitis type illnesses following the vaccine.
But infectious disease experts warn against avoiding the flu shot.
"There's millions of doses of flu vaccine given every year, and the safety record is really very, very good. A single death, even if it were caused by the flu vaccine, doesn't really lessen the importance of people getting the influenza vaccination," said Dr. Rathel "Skip" Nolan, infectious disease specialist with the State Health of Department.
An estimated 50,000 Americans die of the flu each year, about 500 of those are in Mississippi.
Physicians say there are three or four strains of the virus which circulate in the population.
"There are two things I hear about the flu shot. One that 'I never get it, because I never get the flu', and that's really not true. People get the flu every three or four years regardless. What they may get is an upper respiratory tract infection that just feels like a cold," said Nolan.
In which case experts say you can transmit it to others. And it can be fatal for the very young, very old or the chronically ill.
A new form of the vaccine this year does not contain eggs for those with egg white allergies.
Nasal sprays are available for people who don't like needles.
Flu season is underway and lasts until the end of March.
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