Common Flu Shot Side Effects
Repeat: The flu vaccine won’t give you the flu, but you can experience mild symptoms because of how the vaccine works.
“The flu vaccine is designed to stimulate your immune system to build antibodies to the virus. That stimulation can cause a low-grade fever, a decrease in appetite, loose stool, mild fatigue or myalgia and even a scant cough,” Teague says.
According to Teague, these symptoms usually resolve after a few days and are no cause for alarm. You may also experience some redness, swelling or soreness where the shot was injected, which is also normal.
The CDC says you can experience “flulike” symptoms after getting the vaccine, such as:
- Soreness, redness, and/or swelling at the injection site
- Muscle aches
The symptoms listed above should resolve in a few days. Also, keep in mind not everyone has symptoms, but those are the most common. When it comes to other symptoms, or symptoms that last longer, it’s important to keep in mind that you can still catch a cold, or other virus, right after you get the flu shot.
So if you experience other symptoms that seem like the flu, it could be another illness and it doesn’t mean the shot made you sick. The flu shot also takes about two weeks to become effective at protecting you from the flu, so you could technically catch the flu within that two-week window.
Flu Shot: Side Effects
Many people report avoiding the flu vaccine each year for fear that it will make them sick. Its important to understand that the flu vaccine cant cause you to develop the flu. You arent going to become sick because you received the vaccine.
Flu vaccines contain dead or weakened strains of the flu virus. These strains arent strong enough to cause an illness.
You may experience some side effects from the flu shot. These side effects are often mild and only last a short period of time. The side effects of a shot outweigh the possible symptoms of a flu infection later.
The most common side effects of the flu shot include:
- soreness around the flu shot injection site
- low-grade fever in the days immediately following the injection
- mild aches and stiffness
- low grade temperature
Any side effects that do occur often only last a day or two. Many people wont experience any side effects.
On rare occasions, some people may have a serious allergic reaction to the vaccination. If youve had an allergic reaction to any vaccine or medication before, talk with your doctor first.
If You Are Having A Severe Allergic Reaction To A Covid
Severe allergic reactions to vaccines are rare but can happen. If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination provider site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911.
A severe allergic reaction can cause:
- difficulty breathing or wheezing,
- a drop in blood pressure,
- swelling of the tongue or throat, or
- a generalized rash or hives, which may include mucus membranes.
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Flu Shot: How Does It Work
To make the vaccine, scientists select the strains of the flu virus that research suggests will be the most common in the coming flu season. Millions of vaccines with those strains are produced and distributed.
Once you receive the vaccine your body begins producing antibodies against those strains of the virus. These antibodies provide protection against the virus. If you come into contact with the flu virus at a later point, you have a better chance to avoid an infection. However, you can still get sick if you contract a different strain of the flu virus. But the symptoms will be less severe because you are vaccinated.
- children under age 5
- people, regardless of age, with weakened immune systems due to chronic illness
Most doctors also recommend everyone gets their flu vaccine by the end of October. This way your body has time to develop the right antibodies before flu season kicks into gear. It takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop against the flu after you get the shot.
Vaccines With Mmr Or Varicella Components And Persons With A History Of Egg Allergy
Varicella vaccine is grown in human diploid cell cultures and can safely be administered to persons with a severe allergy to eggs or egg proteins . Measles and mumps vaccine viruses are grown in chick embryo fibroblast tissue culture. However, persons with a severe egg allergy can receive measles- or mumps-containing vaccines in the usual manner because the content of these proteins is extremely low . The rare severe allergic reactions after measles- or mumps-containing vaccines or varicella are thought to be caused by other components of the vaccine . MMR, MMRV, varicella and other vaccines contain hydrolyzed gelatin as a stabilizer.
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Who Should And Who Should Not Get A Flu Vaccine
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an influenza vaccine every season with rare exception. CDCs Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has made this recommendation since the 2010-2011 flu season.
Vaccination to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications. See People at Higher Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications for a full list of age and health factors that confer increased risk.
How To Treat An Adverse Reaction To A Flu Vaccine
This article was medically reviewed by . Dr. Litza is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Wisconsin. She is a practicing Physician and taught as a Clinical Professor for 13 years, after receiving her MD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health in 1998.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 75,611 times.
The flu, or influenza, can be a serious and potentially deadly illness that attacks the respiratory system.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source The flu is highly contagious. Most cases of the flu go away without medication or complications. Many people now get an annual flu vaccine to prevent the illness or serious complications. The flu vaccine is generally safe, but some people may have adverse reactions to the injection.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source You can treat an adverse reaction to the flu vaccine by seeking medical attention for allergic reactions or relieving less serious side effects at home.
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Myth #: The Flu Vaccine Isn’t Safe For Pregnant Women
Studies show flu vaccines are safe for women in any stage of pregnancy, the CDC says. There are several reasons why it’s important for pregnant women to get a flu shot, Schaffner said.
“Pregnant women, when they get influenza, have a tendency to get a more severe disease,” and are at increased risk for complications and hospitalization from the disease, Schaffner said.
In addition, flu vaccination in pregnancy helps to protect the baby against flu during the first six months of life, when the baby is too young to receive a flu shot, Schaffner said. The mother “passes that protection on to her newborn baby,” Schaffner said.
Side Effects Of The Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine
Some people receive the live attenuated flu vaccine instead of the shot. A lifesaver for those who hate needles, this vaccine is only given to those over 2 years old who don’t have asthma, diabetes, or other health issues that compromise the immune system. That’s because it contains the live flu virusbut in such weakened quantities that it can’t cause a full-blown flu, says Dr. Ahmed. Side effects of the nasal spray include:
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What Are Side Effects Of Inactivated Viral Vaccines
Side effects of inactivated viral vaccines may include the following:
- Injection site reactions include:
Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.
Myth #: You Get The Flu From The Flu Shot
“It’s a myth that you can get flu from the flu vaccine,” Schaffner said.
The viruses in the flu shot are killed, so people cannot get the flu from a flu vaccine. However, because it takes about two weeks for people to build up immunity after they get the flu vaccine, some people may catch the flu shortly after they’re vaccinated, if they are exposed to the flu during this time period. Some people may also mistakenly attribute symptoms of a cold to the vaccine, Schaffner said.
The nasal spray vaccine contains a “live attenuated” flu virus, but the virus is weakened so that it cannot cause the flu. The viruses in the nasal spray can’t replicate in the warm temperatures of the lungs and other parts in the body. However, because temperatures in the nose are colder, the virus causes a small infection in the nose. This infection does not cause symptoms in most people, but in some people, it causes symptoms such as runny nose and sore throat, Schaffner said. These symptoms are typically short-lived, the CDC says.
This local infection will prompt the body to make antibodies against the flu virus, Schaffner said. “That provides better protection against the real flu, which is of course, is a virus that can make you seriously ill,” Schaffner said.
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When To Get The Influenza Vaccine
Yearly vaccination before the onset of each flu season is recommended. In most parts of Australia, flu season occurs from June to September, with the flu vaccine typically available from April.
Recent evidence suggests optimal protection against the flu occurs within the first 3-4 months following vaccination. It is important to note that, while the influenza virus continues to circulate, it is never too late to vaccinate.
How Effective Is The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine gives the best protection against flu.
Flu vaccines help protect against the main types of flu viruses, although there’s still a chance you might get flu.
If you do get flu after vaccination, it’s likely to be milder and not last as long.
Having the flu vaccine will also reduce the chance of you spreading flu to other people who may be more at risk of serious problems from flu.
It can take 10 to 14 days for the flu vaccine to work.
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Should People Who Are Immunocompromised Get A Flu Shot
Another misconception is that individuals with chronic conditions who may be immunocompromised may have a worse reaction to the vaccine because they are more vulnerable. Health officials say this is not so.
When we say that the vaccine is universally recommended for ages 6 months and above, we mean it, says Dr. Conway. The only group that should absolutely not get it again would be somebody with a genuine allergic reaction to the vaccine obviously, they should avoid it.
Older people and people with underlying conditions should really even be higher priority than others to get the flu vaccine, says Dean Winslow, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine in California.
The fact is, the flu can be much more disastrous for these high-risk populations.
People with asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and a number of other chronic health conditions are at a higher risk of developing serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death, per the CDC.
Indeed, during recent flu seasons, 9 out of 10 people hospitalized with the flu had at least one underlying health condition, the agency notes.
Being pregnant also puts you at an increased risk of more severe illness from the flu. This is due to changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs that occur during pregnancy .
The flu vaccine offers protection against the flu to both the mother and the baby.
Special Consideration Regarding Egg Allergy
People with egg allergies can receive any licensed, recommended age-appropriate influenza vaccine that is otherwise appropriate. People who have a history of severe egg allergy should be vaccinated in a medical setting, supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions. Two completely egg-free flu vaccine options are available: quadrivalent recombinant vaccine and quadrivalent cell-based vaccine.
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How Effective Is The Seasonal Flu Shot
Influenza vaccine effectiveness can vary. The protection provided by a flu vaccine varies from season to season and depends in part on the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine and the similarity or match between the viruses in the vaccine and those in circulation. During years when the flu vaccine match is good, it is possible to measure substantial benefits from flu vaccination in terms of preventing flu illness and complications. However, the benefits of flu vaccination will still vary, depending on characteristics of the person being vaccinated , what influenza viruses are circulating that season and, potentially, which type of flu vaccine was used. For more information, see Vaccine Effectiveness How well does the Flu Vaccine Work. For information specific to this season, visit About the Current Flu Season.
There are many reasons to get an influenza vaccine each year. Flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against flu and its potentially serious complications.
Below is a summary of the benefits of flu vaccination and selected scientific studies that support these benefits.
- Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.
- A 2018 study showed that from 2012 to 2015, flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit with flu by 82 percent.
How To Treat Flu Vaccine Side Effects If Youre Really Struggling
Although side effects shouldnt last long, theres no shame in wanting to minimize your pain. To deal with any aches or a fever, you can try an OTC pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, according to the Mayo Clinic. If your arm is really sore, consider icing it to help with inflammation. Getting plenty of sleep, loading up on water, and generally trying to take it easy until you feel a bit better is always a good idea, too.
And if you have any questions about the flu vaccineif and when you should get your flu shot or nasal spray vaccine, if you should be worried about side effects, concerns about allergies, or anything elsedont hesitate to talk it over with a health care professional. Theyre there to help you make the process as seamless as possible.
Additional reporting by Korin Miller
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Symptoms Vs Side Effects
If your child feels unwell after getting the flu vaccine, it is understandable to assume that it was related to the shot. However, it may just be a coincidence, especially if your child is in daycare or around other sick children.
It is important to differentiate this because some parents will attribute a symptom or illness to the flu shot and swear to never use it again. This would increase the risk of the child catching influenza and developing a serious complication. Before drawing a conclusion, ask yourself a few questions:
In the unlikely event your child has the same reaction year after year, then it is probably not a coincidence. You may need to avoid the flu shot and speak with your pediatrician about using FluMist as an alternative.
You should also report the reaction to the Vaccine Adverse Event Report System, a safety surveillance program managed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Flu Vaccine Side Effects
Flu vaccines are very safe. All adult flu vaccines are given by injection into the muscle of the upper arm.
Most side effects are mild and only last for a day or so, such as:
- slightly raised temperature
- muscle aches
- sore arm where the needle went in this is more likely to happen with the vaccine for people aged 65 and over
Try these tips to help reduce the discomfort:
- continue to move your arm regularly
- take a painkiller, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen some people, including those who are pregnant, should not take ibuprofen unless a doctor recommends it
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Managing Side Effects After Immunisation
Common side effects following immunisation are usually mild and temporary . Specific treatment is not usually required. There are several treatment options that can reduce the side effects of the vaccine including:
- Drinking extra fluids and not overdressing if there is a fever.
- Although routine use of paracetamol after vaccination is not recommended, if pain and fever are present, paracetamol can be given check the label for the correct dose or speak with your pharmacist .
Is Getting Sick After Flu Shots Normal
Generally speaking, flu vaccinations are safe and do not lead to serious side effects. In rare cases, it may cause an allergic reaction. While these reactions can be life-threatening, the Immunisation Nursing team at Corporate Care have emergency protocols in place to deal with such situations.
Millions of Australians get flu jabs every year and do not experience any complications at all.
Once you receive the flu shot, it takes around two weeks to generate enough antibodies to fight off the flu strains found in the vaccine administered .
This immune response may cause mild flu-like symptoms that can often be alleviated with over the counter Paracetamol or Ibuprofen .
There’s no reason to avoid getting the flu shot because you think it’ll make you sick. We strongly recommend speaking with a healthcare professional to answer any of your concerns or question about the flu.
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