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Sarcoidosis

Flu shot or not?

10/18/2007

Question:

I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis 6/07 (through removal/biopsy of a neck lymph node). Follow up testing finds no nodes in my chest, some evidence of past uveitis. I work in the ER doing direct patient care. I am considering not getting my annual flu shot as I don`t want to stir up or challenge my immune system....as it may lead to more sarcoid in my body. Am I crazy to think this way?

Answer:

Dear Sir/Madam-

This is not a crazy concept. However, the small risk of activating the immune system by vaccination should be compared with the risk of influenza.  The latter is not rare, and can be quite severe, especially in those with compromised lung function.  You are working around patients who are likely to harbor influenza, so your risk is higher than most.  Thus, I would recommend that you go ahead with the influenza vaccination.

I am not aware of a documented case wherein influenza vaccination triggered activation of sarcoidosis, but I suppose it is possible.
Sincerely,

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Response by:

Elliott D Crouser, MD Elliott D Crouser, MD
Associate Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University