When you get a vaccination like the flu shot, you do not expect to suffer any complications. Unfortunately, while most vaccines are safe, they can lead to severe complications and life-altering conditions. Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a condition that damages your nerves. It can lead to tingling and numbness in your hands, legs, and feet. It can also lead to respiratory failure. In extreme cases, the person must use a tube for breathing. While GBS is rare, the CDC reports that 3,000 to 6,000 people suffer from the disease annually. If you suffer GBS or another severe complication after a vaccine, speak to Jeffrey S. Pop & Associates.
Ventilatory Failure and Muscle Paralysis
Guillain-Barre Syndrome can lead to two types of respiratory failure. These conditions can often lead to hospitalization in the intensive care unit. You may need help breathing with mechanical ventilation. It involves putting a tube in the person’s mouth through the throat and lungs. Lung weakness can lead to respiratory failure.
Ventilatory failure happens when muscles cannot work correctly. The muscles that control your breathing are so weak they fail you. Conversely, muscle paralysis occurs when the chest is affected. It can make it challenging for your lungs to fill with air. In either case, the patient may need assistance breathing.
Another possible respiratory failure you may experience is aspiration pneumonia. This can happen when inhaling food, saliva, and stomach acids into their lungs. It is a lung infection. Various viruses, fungi, and bacteria cause it. The materials stuck in the lungs can contain bacteria that can lead to breathing complications.
This condition is likely in people with difficulty swallowing. That might include people who have previously suffered a stroke or neurological disorders. Those suffering a head injury or who are intoxicated may also be more susceptible to this condition. It impacts people who cannot protect their airways or are unconscious.
Symptoms of this condition often include chest pain, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. People can also suffer a severe infection. Treatment usually involves a round of antibiotics. You may need more invasive treatments if your condition worsens and the antibiotics are not working.
Signs and symptoms of respiratory failure
When your lungs cannot exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide, you may begin to suffer respiratory failure. The most common signs and symptoms that you may suffer from respiratory failure include the following:
- Shortness of breath
These are some of the early signs of respiratory failure. They can also be indicative of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Difficulty breathing can be a life-threatening condition. If the condition comes after a vaccine, you may be eligible for compensation from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Diagnosing respiratory failure
When assessing respiratory failure, the medical provider will test your blood’s oxygen and carbon dioxide. They will start by checking your blood pressure using a pulse oximeter on your finger. They will then check your heart and lungs by listening. Depending on their findings, they may send you for additional testing. The following tests are used to diagnose respiratory failure:
- Pulse oximetry: you will usually get this check every time you see a doctor. It is a small machine that slips over your finger. It then measures the oxygen in your blood.
- Lung function test: this is also referred to as a pulmonary function test. It is when you breathe into a mouthpiece. It is attached to a machine that tests your lungs.
- Arterial blood gas test: this test is slightly more invasive. It involves sticking a needle into your wrist, arm, or groin to take out blood. The test will measure the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your blood.
- Imaging: these tests do not diagnose your respiratory failure but can indicate what is causing it. CT scans and X-rays will take images of your body.
- EKG: This examination will test how well the heart is working. The medical provider will hook up several wires to test your heart.
Your tests will vary depending on your symptoms and medical history. Tell your provider everything so they can determine your condition accurately.
Types of GBS
GBS has various forms of the syndrome. It is not a singular illness. Other forms of the disease include the following:
- Miller-Fisher Syndrome: this rare form of GBS can lead to eye paralysis and an unsteady walk. You may also suffer loss of strength and muscle coordination. Some patients will make a full recovery within a few weeks or months. Treatment involves pain relief, physical therapy, and fluids. There is no guarantee that you will recover.
- Acute Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy (AIDP) involves muscle weakness. It begins in the lower extremities, such as your legs. It can then spread to other parts of your body.
- Acute Motor Axonal Neuropathy
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has data on how common these types of GBS are. The most common is CIDP, followed by the AMAN. Miller-Fisher Syndrome is the least common, with only about five to ten percent of overall cases.
Symptoms of GBS
The initial symptoms of GBS may include tingling and numbness in the hands, legs, and feet. It can quickly spread to other areas of the body, leading to paralysis. Complications and hospitalizations are common. GBS patients can also experience symptoms such as:
- Speech issues
- Difficulty breathing
- Odd sensations in wrists, fingers, or toes
- Increased heart rate
- Challenges walking or climbing stairs
- Problems chewing or swallowing
- Changes in blood pressure
- Involuntary eye or facial movements
- Bowel issues, incontinence, or bladder dysfunction
- Aching and cramping in the body. It is often worse in the evening.
The first two to four weeks are incredibly challenging for patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The initial onset of symptoms is also a vital time to get medical attention. Speak to a local vaccine injury attorney to review compensation options.
The cause of Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Guillain-Barre Syndrome has many causes. Often, it is attributed to stomach flu and lung infections. It can also happen from an adverse vaccine reaction. In some instances, the illnesses appeared after a surgical procedure. You will likely experience symptoms of an infection within a few days or weeks. It can come from a respiratory or digestive symptom infection.
While GBS can affect anyone, some factors can increase your risk. Men and young adults can be at higher risk than others. Other risk factors include:
- Having the flu
- AIDS and HIV
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Zika virus
- Mycoplasma pneumonia
- Exposure to toxins like pesticides
You may have a higher chance of contracting Guillain-Barre Syndrome if you suffer from these illnesses or risk factors. Get medical treatment immediately and disclose if you have had any diseases. It can help diagnose GBS. You should also speak to the national vaccine injury lawyer at Jeffrey S. Pop & Associates.
Vaccines that can lead to GBS
Sometimes, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is not connected to vaccines because it can take several weeks for symptoms to show. Even when symptoms arise, patients can struggle to identify the cause. The most common vaccines that are correlated to GBS include:
- MMR vaccine
- Influenza (flu)
- Gardasil or HPV vaccine
- Varicella vaccine
- Hepatitis B vaccine
- Meningococcal vaccine
Guillain-Barre Syndrome is treatable, but it can take time and invasive procedures. You may have a long recovery ahead. Recovery time and treatment will vary depending on the person. It is best to seek medical attention when you feel symptoms or severe side effects after a vaccine. Your medical team can help diagnose GBS. The role of our vaccine injury lawyer is to determine if there is a correlation between GBS and a vaccine.
Complications of GBS are severe. This illness attacks the nervous system. It can impact your movements and mobility. You may experience some or all of the following:
- Heart problems
- Blood clots or pressure sores
While these complications are severe, death is also possible. The complications that could lead to death include:
- Heart attack or stroke
- Respiratory distress condition
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia
It is critical to stay in contact with your medical team. You should monitor your symptoms and look for any potential complications. There are no guarantees, but you may prevent further complications by addressing your symptoms early. You should also inform your GBS injury lawyer about your symptoms and complications.
Treatment for GBS
There is no cure for GBS currently. However, there are treatments available to help manage symptoms and potentially recover. There are two therapies available for Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Both treatments aim to get your body to work while you heal. You will either undergo a plasma exchange or high-dose IVIG therapy. If respiratory failure is likely, you may be put on ventilator assistance. This treatment will enable you to breathe.
Speak to a vaccine injury lawyer today.
GBS can lead to paralysis, permanent weakness in extremities, and death. If you contract GBS after a vaccination, you have legal options. You must focus on your recovery. Jeffrey S. Pop & Associates will handle the legal aspect of your case so you can heal. Do not worry about paying exorbitant fees, as the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program addresses reasonable attorney fees. Schedule an initial consultation by calling (888) 921-3995 today.