Important blood clot warning symptoms as EMA makes urgent Covid vaccine ruling

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Worries about a potential link between the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots have led to several countries suspending the use of the Covid jab.

Experts are saying that the risk of developing a blood clot is ‘very rare’ with the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) in Ireland receiving 16 reports of blood clots happening after AstraZeneca vaccinations.

The HPRA said that none of the reports describe cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, which is a rare type of blood clot in the brain, nor the occurrence of a blood clot associated with low platelets. 

It’s still not clear whether the blood clots are a genuine side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine, or just a coincidence.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency says the benefits continue to outweigh any risks.

Nevertheless, it’s still important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of blood clots. Here is what you need to know.

What is a blood clot?

Blood clotting is an important process in the body which prevents excessive bleeding when we get a cut or an injury.

A type of blood cell called platelets and proteins in the plasma work together to stop the bleeding, and form a clot over the injury.

Blood clot (Image: Getty Images)

These will naturally dissolve after the injury has healed.

But sometimes clots can form on the inside of blood vessels without there being an obvious injury, and they don’t dissolve naturally.

These can be dangerous and require urgent treatment.

What causes blood clots?

Blood clots can be caused by a number of different things.

For example, some medications can stop platelets from signalling each other so they won’t stick together.

Some people are higher at risk of getting blood clots than others, and genetics also play a role.

What are the symptoms of a blood clot?

If you think you have a blood clot, you should get health advice

According to the HSE, symptoms of a blood clot can include:

  • swelling or pain in one leg or calf
  • warmth or redness in a leg
  • shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • chest pain, which may be worse when you breathe in
  • a cough or coughing up blood.

If you have one or more of these symptoms, you may have a blood clot, seek medical help immediately.

There are treatments to deal with and help prevent blood clots, which are very effective.

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A group of Anti-Lockdown protesters clash with Gardai) in Grafton Street, Dublin, during Level 5 Covid-19 lockdown. On Saturday, Fabruary 27, 2021, in Dublin, Ireland.

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Source: Dublin News