Controversy surrounds the question of whether flu shots offer much protection against the flu. And now allergists are warning that some people may be at special risk of side effects from these vaccinations.
The flu vaccine includes gelatin among its ingredients. So if you are allergic to gelatin, you can suffer a serious allergic reaction to a flu shot. And if marshmallows make your tongue swell or gummy bears make you itchy, you may, in fact, suffer from a gelatin allergy.
“Gelatin is used in the flu shot, as well as other vaccines, as a stabilizer,” said researcher Stephanie Albin, M.D., an allergist. “Because it is found in the vaccine, those with a known allergy to gelatin can experience allergic reactions, such as hives, sneezing and difficulty breathing.”
“Gelatin reactions can (also) cause… itchiness, shortness of breath and a severe life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis,” explained Albin.
A gelatin allergy is not common. But if you suspect you have one, you should be tested by a knowledgeable health practitioner.