Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a neurological disorder that happens when the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system. GBS symptoms range from mild weakness in your arms and legs to full paralysis.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome can be a life-altering injury. Although most people recover, others will have residual symptoms for the rest of their life.
GBS is an auto-immune disease, which occurs when your immune system attacks on healthy nerves that are mistaken for viruses or bacteria. The exact cause of GBS is unknown.
However, in rare cases, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is triggered by vaccines, particularly the seasonal flu vaccine.
The link between flu shots and Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Right now, the only vaccine associated with Guillain-Barre Syndrome is the seasonal influenza shot. Who has recognized this association?
According to the Vaccine Injury Table, if you receive a seasonal flu vaccine and experience the onset of GBS symptoms between three (3) and forty-two (42) days later, you will have met the criteria set forth in the Table.
According to the Vaccine Injury Table, all types of GBS have the interval between the onset of symptoms and the critical point of weakness happens between twelve (12) hours and twenty-eight (28) days. Once reaching the clinical nadir, people with GBS will typically plateau and subsequently see some improvement.
What are the Symptoms of GBS?
GBS symptoms usually begin with some numbness and/or tingling sensations in the feet or hands. These symptoms are followed by bilateral weakness in the arms and legs.
As Guillain-Barre Syndrome progresses, you will have difficulty walking or climbing stairs. Other GBS symptoms to watch out for include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- Difficulty with vision, pain, balance or coordination issues
- Problems with digestion or incontinence
By week three of the syndrome, most patients are at their worst. In rare occasions, a patient may lose all function of their muscles, becoming totally paralyzed. In those situations, the Guillain-Barre Syndrome is life-threatening.
What types of treatment are available for Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
There are two common ways to treat GBS that have been shown to reduce symptoms:
Plasma exchange. During plasma exchange, blood cells are extracted from the patient and then returned once the plasma has been removed, along with bad antibodies that have been damaging the nerves.
Immunoglobulin therapy (IVIg). In IVIg therapy, immunoglobulin proteins are injected into the patient. These proteins help attack the infection.
Once the patient starts to recover, they will be transferred to a rehabilitation unit. There, they start physical therapy, occupational therapy, and sometimes speech therapy.
The road back to normal is often a long and difficult one. Over months and years, the patient regains his or her strength and independence, adapting to his or her new reality. In some cases, recovering from GBS can take years.
IS GBS a Permanent Condition?
While most patients will recover from GBS, others suffer from long-term side effects, including weakness, fatigue, and pain. As a result, they may use assistive devices to walk.
Others require the assistance of therapists or family members to perform activities of daily living. For many people, GBS can have a severe mental and emotional toll as well.
Diagnosed with GBS after a vaccination? Contact our vaccine injury lawyers today
If you believe you have suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome from a vaccine, you may be entitled to compensation from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Call us today at (312) 578-9501 to speak with one of our vaccine injury lawyers today. You can also message us here. Our consultations are always free. We’re just a call or contact form away.