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Old 02-08-2009, 01:38 AM
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ATTN: People working in the medical field

I start my new job on Monday working as a Phlebotomist at a clinic and they need me to bring in my immunization records to make sure I am up to date with my immunizations. If I am not, I have to get my shots. I have a question and this may sound silly. Has anybody had any sort of reaction to the shots? I am deeply terrified of having serious reactions to medications as it's happened to me twice and sent me to the E.R. So therefore I am traumatized by drugs and medicine. I am just wondering if I have anything to worry about if I do indeed need to get my immunizations updated. I have a huge fear of this type of stuff. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you all for your kind comments.
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Old 02-08-2009, 03:56 AM
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Are you allergic to eggs or gelatin? These are common components to vaccinations, so you might have been reacting to the carrier. Ideally you would have a record of the shots so you can trace common elements to figure out what you were reacting to.

I know my friend found out she has a gelatin allergy after she received an injection of it and her throat closed up shortly after. Now she is hypersensitive to gelatin, which is in a lot of foods, and carries an epi-pen.
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:49 AM
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reactions to medications and reactions to vaccinations aren't the same thing
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:56 AM
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Depending on what you're getting, you may be assessed for Penicillin allergy, severe egg allergies or previous known allergies when you had your immunizations done.

Usually, they will give you Epinephrine before getting immunizations, if you had a previous allergic reaction to a specific immunization.

I agree, though, if you are allergic to some medications, it won't automatically mean you will be allergic to immunizations.
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:56 AM
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I guess I should clarify...

I had a reaction (not allergic) to Lexapro. I started hallucinating and was slipping in and out of conciousness. I went to the ER because I thought I was dying. It was quite scary. I guess my body just didn't like it very much.

I was a bit sensitive to Zofran, which is an anti nausea medicine. The only reaction I had was a rapid heart beat.

I am also sensitive to OTC cold medications and such. I am just really sensitive. I have never had a severe allergic reaction to anything except Ceclor and that was when I was little. I am not allergic to eggs or gelatin.

Basically I just have a fear of medications. Anything foreign going into my body freaks me out because I am terrified of having another reaction like I did with the lexapro. It's almost like PTSD lol.

The shots I would be receiving are like hep B and stuff.

Hope this helps! Thank you guys so much for the advice and kind comments.
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Old 02-08-2009, 06:27 PM
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I TOTALLY understand your fear of this stuff since it has happened to me with a few meds but you should be totally fine with the vaccinations. Just make sure you tell them all of the reactions you have every had to anything (including foods).
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Old 02-08-2009, 07:22 PM
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If you did not have any reaction to a vaccine before I don't think you should be worried. Furthermore, I don't think most places would let you start working without it. From what you described it seems like you are only sensitive to medications, not allergic.
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Old 02-08-2009, 08:05 PM
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I got both Hep A and B with no problems. I actually got two at the same time... that was weird. I dislike needles.
I don't remember reading about any sides effects to any of them besides the usual soreness. Don't forget to go back for the followup shots.
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Old 02-08-2009, 09:44 PM
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It's alarming to me that my Phlebotomist may not know these answers and has to consult a DENIM forum! Seriously, where did you obtain your degree????? I want to stay far from where ever your classmates may be working!
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:39 PM
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Ummm I am just starting. Tomorrow is my first day EVER soooo... I just got out of school and they will be training me. I have to get my vaccinations to make sure if I get blood on me or in me that I am safe from any diseases. How do you expect me to know about vaccinations when all I do is stick a needle in a vein and draw blood? I didn't learn about all the diseases in school. Sheesh I'm not a freakin' doctor.

Anyways, thank you to everyone else who sent nice and calming comments. My mom pulled up my vaccination record and said I had my shots in '95. Does that mean I am due for boosters or do you think I will be ok? I know this is stupid and yeah maybe this is a denim forum but what I read at the top of this page is HEALTH AND FITNESS and I am not ashamed for asking a simple question regarding a concern I might have.
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizm75 View Post
It's alarming to me that my Phlebotomist may not know these answers and has to consult a DENIM forum! Seriously, where did you obtain your degree????? I want to stay far from where ever your classmates may be working!
Phlebotomy is usually just a short class to learn to draw blood. I don't believe pharmacology is a pre-req.

Plastic Alligator, You'll still probably need to start on your Hep A&B series because when you were younger they weren't required vaccinations. Good Luck!
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plastic_alligator View Post
My mom pulled up my vaccination record and said I had my shots in '95. Does that mean I am due for boosters or do you think I will be ok?
WHAT shots? Everything has a different time frame for updates... some are one-time and don't ever need to be done again. This isn't specific enough.

I would suggest that even though you are "not a doctor" you read up and familiarize yourself with complications that could occur in your office, how to recognize an allergic reaction, etc
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jillybean View Post
Phlebotomy is usually just a short class to learn to draw blood. I don't believe pharmacology is a pre-req.

Plastic Alligator, You'll still probably need to start on your Hep A&B series because when you were younger they weren't required vaccinations. Good Luck!
HepA is food borne (contaminated food, water, areas of poor sanitation, etc) and self-limiting. This is not a required vaccination for any health facility i've ever heard of or anywhere else. It is generally only suggested for those traveling to developing countries
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:07 AM
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I am not sure why they did not require your
Immunization record,
or certain shots completed
before even starting you in that class.

But what do I know?
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by plastic_alligator View Post
Ummm I am just starting. Tomorrow is my first day EVER soooo... I just got out of school and they will be training me. I have to get my vaccinations to make sure if I get blood on me or in me that I am safe from any diseases. How do you expect me to know about vaccinations when all I do is stick a needle in a vein and draw blood? I didn't learn about all the diseases in school. Sheesh I'm not a freakin' doctor.

Anyways, thank you to everyone else who sent nice and calming comments. My mom pulled up my vaccination record and said I had my shots in '95. Does that mean I am due for boosters or do you think I will be ok? I know this is stupid and yeah maybe this is a denim forum but what I read at the top of this page is HEALTH AND FITNESS and I am not ashamed for asking a simple question regarding a concern I might have.
You need to see a doctor in order for them to decide if you need boosters. HepA is usually given for travel but HepB is a must for any medical occupation. You may also want to check if you are immune to varicella if you haven't had it yet. A TB test may also be required. You need to see a doctor. Nobody here can give you any definite answers.
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plastic_alligator View Post
My mom pulled up my vaccination record and said I had my shots in '95. Does that mean I am due for boosters or do you think I will be ok? I know this is stupid and yeah maybe this is a denim forum but what I read at the top of this page is HEALTH AND FITNESS and I am not ashamed for asking a simple question regarding a concern I might have.
If you haven't had any sort of immunization since 1995, you probably need a pertussis/tetanus/diphtheria booster.At my latest regular appointment my physician gave me one because apparently there is a slight resurgence of whooping cough going around, so she gave me one early even though I had a tetanus shot about 6 years ago.

Whooping cough: Prevention - MayoClinic.com

If you can provide your records, my guess is you will only need to boost or re-take whatever the policy of your workplace dictates. But yeah, like other people have said, it's weird that you didn't have to provide them when you went to school...

For more general info on vaccines (as always, talk you your doctor)

Common Vaccinations: Immunization: Merck Manual Home Edition
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:26 PM
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HepA is food borne (contaminated food, water, areas of poor sanitation, etc) and self-limiting. This is not a required vaccination for any health facility i've ever heard of or anywhere else. It is generally only suggested for those traveling to developing countries
In the clinic I worked in for a few years, we only carried Twinrix, which is for both Hep A&B, that's why I suggested both.

ETA: How did the first day on the job go?

Last edited by jillybean; 02-09-2009 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:23 PM
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Wow I didn't even think about getting vaccinated for school. That IS weird that they don't require you to be up to date on your vaccinations. I find that kind of alarming. Hmmm. Yeah I got my Hep B vaccinations in 1995. They said I could just get a booster but said I might as well get the 3 series one. I am feeling less anxious about it although I still don't want to get it done. LOL Better than having Hepatitis though!

Right now I am in training and not handling blood. I am only filing paper work and weighing patients and taking blood pressure for patients. In about 3 or 4 weeks I will be working in the lab. My first day went well thank you JillyBean for asking!

Although I DO work with a large amount of young girls (between the ages of 18-20) and all they do is gossip and it's actually quite annoying but there are also very professional people there too. I think it will be good once I get into the groove of things! Eventually I would like to work in a hospital.

Thank you all for your comments. I will probably just need to get a booster shot for my Hep B since it's been so long. Although I always thought these vaccinations stayed in your system for life? Oh well. Better safe than sorry!

Thanks again guys!
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Old 02-10-2009, 04:15 AM
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HepA is food borne (contaminated food, water, areas of poor sanitation, etc) and self-limiting. This is not a required vaccination for any health facility i've ever heard of or anywhere else. It is generally only suggested for those traveling to developing countries

My class was told if we don't have all hep A and B vaccines we're not allowed to do any practice in the hospitals. And we don't even have any physical contact with the patients. We're kinda scattered all over Michigan this semester.
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Old 02-11-2009, 01:51 PM
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WHAT shots? Everything has a different time frame for updates... some are one-time and don't ever need to be done again. This isn't specific enough.

I would suggest that even though you are "not a doctor" you read up and familiarize yourself with complications that could occur in your office, how to recognize an allergic reaction, etc
Yeah, I mean who wants an inexperienced person with no knowledge coming at you wielding a NEEDLE! That's all I'm saying...

Last edited by lizm75; 02-11-2009 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 02-11-2009, 03:45 PM
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LOL, if you hate shots, how in the hell can you stick a HUGE needle in someone's arm to draw blood!? I could NOT do it!

If you keep up to date on vaccinations as a child, you usually only need a TB skin test and the booster for tetanus to get in to college--and the menigococcal one (meningitis). Of course, now there are many more vaccinations available, and I would get every single one for any blood-borne diseases. I would not take any chances because you are guaranteed to stick yourself--that is pretty scary.
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Old 02-11-2009, 03:52 PM
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LOL, if you hate shots, how in the hell can you stick a HUGE needle in someone's arm to draw blood!? I could NOT do it!
I have terrible needle phobia when they're going into me. 'Nuff said. lol. Different part of the brain doing vs. receiving imo
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Old 02-11-2009, 03:57 PM
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(under Liz) ^ one of my good friends is a nurse (just got out of school last year) and I have no idea how she deals with half the shit that goes on at her hospital. I'd probably puke within the first 2 minutes

And yeah, what Liz said about the shots. I'm also pretty sensitive in general (also broke out in hives with Ceclor--which was given to treat yet another ear infection that was really caused by my milk protein allergy that I didn't find out about until years later. Geniuses, those doctors are!) and I didn't have a problem with any of my more recent vaccines...the one that gave me problems was the MMR (the measles virus was lying dormant in my body and I ended up with measles in first grade, missing my school pictures. I bet the fact that the boosters are usually offered around then is no coincidence...) I'm one of those generally-slightly-allergic-to-life people as well...random eczema, food allergies, odd reactions to medications and vaccines and all that. Got it from my mom. Anyway, good luck!
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:44 PM
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Got my Hep B booster today. Hooray! Although I had a panic attack at my work HAHA! To let others know, I am NOT afraid of needles. I have tattoos covering my entire body and if I was scared of needles I wouldn't be a Phlebotomist. I am afraid of "reactions to medications" and stuff like that. I.E. I took Lexapro and it landed me in the E.R because I was slipping in and out of conciousness and hallucinating and felt like I couldn't move. Ever since then I have been afraid of medicine. Not needles.

Also, when you are in Phlebotomy school, which is only 6 weeks long, 2 hours a week...you don't learn about all the viruses and stuff going around. You learn how to draw blood. That is IT. My work is training me on ALL that I need to know about infections, viruses, etc etc...I won't even be in the Lab for a month.

YAY though I had no reaction, like a figured. I was just scared that's all. I have PTSD or something LOL!

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Old 02-11-2009, 06:10 PM
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