seizures and the flu shot


My name is Sharon and my 9 year old is in the process of being diagnosed with epilepsy.  As a matter of fact, we go this Friday to find out the results of her prolonged video EEG....during which she did have another seizure. 

Anyway, she is due to have a flu shot at her pediatrician's office next week and I was wondering if she can still get it.  The reason I'm asking is when I went to get my flu shot last week, they asked if I had seizures.  Is there something in the flu shot that could possiblt trigger a seizure?

I will, of course, be asking her neurologist Friday about this, but I was curious if anyone knew anything about this.

Thank you for any info you may have!



Re: seizures and the flu shot

Hi,  I'm 32 and have seizures, and just got the flu shot two weeks ago for the first time. nothing happen but as young as she is, that is a good question.

Re: seizures and the flu shot

MONDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) “Children made ill by the 2009 pandemic H1N1 swine flu virus suffered more seizures and other nervous system problems than those with seasonal flu, a new report reveals.

In the study, published in the September issue of the journal Annals of Neurology, researchers compared neurological complications in 303 children (younger than 19 years) who were hospitalized with H1N1 and 234 children hospitalized with seasonal flu.

Among the 303 youngsters with H1N1, 18 children — most of whom had underlying nerve-related conditions — experienced neurological complications. The most common neurologic symptoms were seizures (67 percent) and encephalopathy (50 percent), a brain disorder that can range from mild to serious and potentially fatal.

More than half of the children with seizures arrived at the hospital in a life-threatening state called status epilepticus, where seizure activity occurs continuously for more than five to 30 minutes, the University of Utah researchers explained.

Among the 234 children with seasonal flu, 16 experienced neurological complications, although the study authors noted that none had encephalopathy.

The children with H1N1 (also known as swine flu) were hospitalized between April 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2009, and the children with seasonal flu were hospitalized between July 1, 2004 and June 30, 2008.

‘We found that more pediatric H1N1 patients had neurological deficits and required ongoing treatment with anti-epileptic medications upon discharge from the hospital,’ study author Dr. Josh Bonkowsky noted in a news release from the journal’s publisher.”

For More Information: go to The U.S. National Library of Medicine. children and H1N1 swine flu     Phylis Feiner Johnson


Re: seizures and the flu shot

Hi Phylis:

Thanks for the info!:) I was wondering if you knew whether or not the side effects of the vaccine induced the seizure activity or just those who were not vaccinated? 

Your info piqued my curiousity--were the side effects the same globally? I found an interesting article on regarding H1N1 and adverse side effects of the vaccine on a global scale.  I don't know the exact link--you'd just have to search the website for it.

Take care,


Re: seizures and the flu shot

Hi Sharon:

You raise a very interesting question--I would definitely like to hear what the neuro says. 

I was two when diagnosed with epilepsy.  I received the proper vaccinations with no adverse effects--the flu shot would probably yield the same results. My neuro suggested to my mother that I get a flu shot.  She flat out refused. She believes that you should experience the flu naturally rather than artificially (as the flu shot sometimes induces flu-like symptoms). 

How do you gain a strong immunity to flu strains if you get vaccinated?  When the H1N1 flu shot was available to those with chronic conditions first, I thought about it but decided against getting it.  I am sure that I did get H1N1 but it wasn't as bad as the media projected it to be.  When it comes around again I'll have built that immunity up and am more likely not to have H1N1.  Many teachers get the flu shot annually and still get the flu! So is a flu shot really worth it and worth the risk of possible seizures? In my opinion--no.  As a side note--did anyone get the H1N1 flu shot and if so why did you decide to get it?

Good luck,


Re: seizures and the flu shot

hi!i am a 30-something with epilepsy for the past several years.

I just want to point out that whenever there is s shortage of flu vaccines, they reserve the vaccine for those most in need.  This includes: pregnant women, the elderly, the weak (with some other disease) and people with epilepsy. 

The reason is, fever and the general physical toll that fighting the flu takes can lower your seizure threshold. So getting the vaccine is important to people already predisposed to seizures.

After I was diagnosed and medicated, I had no loss-of-consiousness seizures until i was bedridden with a nasty bug. Afterwards, I called the neurodoc and asked if it should be expected to have more seizures with the flu. He said yes, but increased my dose of Keppra permanently anyway.

As far as why they asked you (when you went for your own vaccine) for your seizure history, I can say (as a regular blood donor) they ask whenever they are going to put needles in you, just for liability and their own safety reasons.

So no worries; get the vaccine!!