When The Flu Vaccine Starts Working
Once you receive your flu shot, it takes 2 weeks for your body to develop antibodies that provide protection.
Its important to remember that during this period, youre still vulnerable to becoming ill with the flu.
During that time, you should be extra careful to:
- practice good hygiene
- avoid touching your nose or mouth whenever possible
- avoid crowds if flu is circulating in your community
These precautions are exponentially more important while COVID-19 is still a factor. You can develop the flu along with other respiratory infections, so protecting yourself and others is important.
Misconceptions About Stomach Flu
Is the stomach flu really flu?
No. Many people use the term stomach flu to describe illnesses with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms can be caused by many different viruses, bacteria or even parasites. While vomiting, diarrhea, and being nauseous or sick to your stomach can sometimes be related to flu more commonly in children than adults these problems are rarely the main symptoms of influenza. Flu is a respiratory disease and not a stomach or intestinal disease.
When Second Flu Shots Are Needed For Kids
If your child is getting the seasonal flu shot for the first time, you can expect that they will also need a second shot a month later. This probably wasn’t the standard when you were a kid, but it has been recommended since 2009.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that all children 6 months old through 8 years old should get two doses of flu vaccine the first year that they are vaccinated against the flu. If your child had their first flu shot last year but only got a single shot, then this year, they should get a flu shot and a booster shot.
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Should My Child Get A Flu Shot
Yes. All children over 6 months old should get a flu shot each year.
Babies and children 6 months to 9 years of age who have never had a flu shot will need 2 doses of the vaccine, given at least 4 weeks apart.
Those who have had one or more doses of the regular seasonal flu shot in the past, or children 9 years of age and older, will only need 1 dose per year.
The vaccine is especially important for children and youth who are at high risk of complications from the flu, including those who:
- are between 6 months and 5 years of age.
- have chronic heart or lung disorders serious enough to need regular medical follow-up.
- have chronic conditions that weaken the immune system, such as immune deficiencies, cancer, HIV or a treatment that causes immune suppression.
- have diabetes or other metabolic diseases.
- have chronic kidney disease.
- have to take acetylsalicylic acid on a daily basis.
- live in a chronic care facility.
- live in First Nation or Inuit communities.
- live with another child or adult who is at risk of complications from the flu.
Children under 5 years old are at higher risk of complications from the flu such as high fever, convulsions and pneumonia. If you have children younger than 5 years old or who have health complications, everyone living in the house should get a flu shot. This is especially important if you have children under 6 months old or if a member of your household is pregnant.
What Happens If You Get Two Flu Shots
Unfortunately, getting two flu shots wont somehow provide you with double protection against the flu vaccines dont work like that. Thats why the CDC recommends that most people get a single dose of the vaccine each season.
According to The New York Times, getting a booster dose of the flu shot is associated with an increased risk of adverse reactions, including fever, rash, shortness of breath, and pain at the injection site. Those possible reactions may seem very mild , but if getting two doses of the same vaccine doesnt double your immunity and even slightly increases the risk of adverse reactions, it makes sense to skip the second shot.
Its also a good idea to limit handshakes and other forms of physical contact during flu season.
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Possible Side Effects Of The Flu Vaccine
The influenza vaccine can cause side effects. In children under 5 years, these reactions may be more obvious.
Common side effects of influenza vaccine include:
- drowsiness or tiredness
- localised pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
- occasionally, an injection-site lump that may last many weeks but needs no treatment
- low-grade temperature .
What Is An Enhanced Influenza Vaccine
An enhanced flu vaccine is one that contains an adjuvant, an ingredient designed to increase the immune-system response to the vaccine. People aged 65 and older are often given an enhanced influenza vaccine because since the immune system weakens with age they dont respond as well to the flu vaccine as healthy, younger adults.
Fluad Quad is an enhanced flu vaccine recommended for people aged 65 and over in Australia.
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What Are The Flu Shot Guidelines
The flu vaccine works by presenting the immune system with a portion of the virus, allowing the body to develop an immune response so that when it encounters the real thing, it’s much better prepared to fight it off.
According to the CDC, it is recommended that everyone over the age of six months gets vaccinated against the flu every year, with very rare exception .
While getting the vaccine does not guarantee that you won’t suffer the misery that is the flu, it may reduce the risk of infection by 40% to 60%, and help prevent severe illness.
What Is The Cell
The production of influenza vaccines traditionally involves hens eggs. However, there is a different method for cell-based influenza vaccines such as Flucelvax Quad, the only cell-based flu vaccine approved for use in Australia. Its approved for use in people aged 9 years and older but has not been added to the National Immunisation Program schedule.
Studies show that cell-based vaccines have a similar efficacy and safety profile to standard flu vaccines. Normally, neither type is recommended over the other.
However, standard flu vaccines are preferred for use in pregnancy because a large body of evidence supports their safety for pregnant women. The safety of cell-based flu vaccines during pregnancy hasnt been assessed.
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Sometimes I Get The Flu Despite Having Had The Flu Shot Why Should I Bother
Flu vaccination prevents illness in up to 6 in 10 healthy adults under the age of 65. Because the vaccine is not effective in absolutely every case, some people may still catch the virus after having the flu shot. But the risk of illness is still reduced.
Although most people who get the flu recover without lasting effects, the flu can be very serious in some people and may require hospitalisation. In some cases, it can even be fatal. Its not possible to predict who will be severely affected.
Vaccination against the flu both reduces your chances of getting it and the severity of the symptoms if you do. So its still important to have the shot.
When Should I Get My Flu Shot
Though the exact timing of flu season varies year to year, infections generally start to ramp up around October. The best time to get your flu shot is in the early fall, ideally before the end of October.
“But if you miss that deadline, then get it as soon as you can afterward,” Dr. Moore says. “There’s no point at which it’s too late to get your influenza vaccine.”
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Is Flu Illness Serious
Millions of children get sick with flu each year and thousands are hospitalized. CDC estimates that since 2010, between 7,000 and 28,000 children younger than 5 years old have been hospitalized for flu each year in the United States. Children with chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, and disorders of the brain or nervous system, and children younger than 5 years old are more likely to end up in the hospital from flu.
Some people at high risk can develop complications that can result in hospitalization and even death.
Flu seasons vary in how serious they are from one season to another. Since 2010, CDC estimates that between 130 and 1,200 children have died from flu each year.
When Should My Child Get A Flu Vaccine
Doctors recommend that your child get a flu vaccine every year in the fall, starting when he or she is 6 months old. Some children 6 months through 8 years of age may need 2 doses for best protection.
- CDC recommends a flu vaccine by the end of October, before flu begins spreading in your community. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.
- Children 6 months through 8 years getting a flu vaccine for the first time, and those who have only previously gotten one dose of flu vaccine, should get two doses of vaccine. The first dose should be given as soon as vaccine becomes available.
- If your child previously got two doses of flu vaccine , he only needs one dose of flu vaccine this season.
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone ages six months and older. Pregnant women should get a flu vaccine during each pregnancy. Flu vaccines given during pregnancy help protect both the mother and her baby from flu.
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Is The Flu Vaccine Safe
Yes. Flu vaccines have been used for over 50 years and have been safely given to hundreds of millions of people, including pregnant people. Flu vaccines, like all vaccines used in the U.S., are carefully monitored for safety through the U.S. vaccine monitoring systems .
Find answers to more questions about vaccine safety.
Who Shouldnt Get Vaccinated
If youre currently feeling sick, its best to wait until youre better.
Avoid the flu shot if you have a severe allergy to any of the ingredients that may be used in the vaccine, such as:
- egg protein
- monosodium glutamate , a stabilizer that keeps vaccines from losing their potency
- antibiotics, such as neomycin and gentamicin
- polysorbate 80, an emulsifier which keeps the ingredients from separating
- formaldehyde, which inactivates the flu virus
Babies under 6 months old shouldnt be vaccinated.
If youve had Guillain-Barré syndrome, talk to your doctor before getting the flu vaccine.
The nasal spray contains a weakened live virus. It shouldnt be taken by people who:
- are younger than 2 or older than 50 years
- are 2 to 4 years old and have asthma
- are 2 to 17 years old and take medications containing aspirin or salicylate
- are pregnant
- have life threatening allergies to the flu vaccine
- have a suppressed immune system
- are in close contact with someone with a suppressed immune system
- have taken antiviral drugs for the flu within the previous 48 hours
Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of the nasal spray vaccine if you have:
- asthma or chronic lung disease
- a blood disorder
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Who Can Get The Flu Vaccine
An annual flu vaccination is provided through the National Immunisation Program for most people in the community who are at an increased risk of serious complications.
In Victoria, an annual vaccination against influenza is free for:
- children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
- people who have medical conditions that put them at risk of serious complications of influenza
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 6 months and over
- pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
- people 65 years and over.
Contact your doctor or immunisation provider for further information about eligibility. People not covered by these categories can also have an annual flu immunisation, but it is not available for free.
Can I Have The Flu Vaccine If I Take Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
Immune checkpoint inhibitors are a type of medicine used to treat some cancers, including metastatic melanoma, renal clear cell carcinoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, non-small celllung cancer and other solid organ tumours. Checkpoint inhibitors include ipilimumab, nivolumab and pembrolizumab.
People taking checkpoint inhibitors may have a higher risk of immune-related side effects following influenza vaccination. Talk to your oncologist about the risks and benefits of the flu shot.
For more information on the flu vaccine, go to the Department of Health website or call the National Immunisation Hotline on 1800 671 811.
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The Flu Shot Is Your Best Defence
This years flu season is taking place at the same time as COVID-19. Dont take any unnecessary risks with your health. Get the flu shot as early in the season as possible.
The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months old and older. It is:
- available from your doctor or nurse practitioner, and at participating pharmacies and local public health units across the province
- proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu
- different each year because the virus changes frequently so you need to get it every fall
Theres Still Time To Get Vaccinated
Its not too late, Moore said about the vaccine, noting that we still dont know for sure whats going to happen next.
If flu A continues to get worse, as predicted, the flu shot will protect you through the rest of the season.
And even though the vaccine isnt a perfect match to B strains, it can still help lessen the severity of the flu.
If youve been vaccinated, and even if there is a mismatch, you are likely to have a less severe infection when you get it, Schaffner said.
Remember: By getting immunized, youre not only protecting yourself, but others as well who may be more at risk for developing severe complications like the elderly, pregnant women, children under 2, and immunosuppressed people.
When we protect ourselves, we are really protecting those around us, Moore said.
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Who Should Not Get The Flu Shot
Very few children should NOT get a flu shot:
- Babies under 6 months of age. Although the vaccine is not harmful to babies less than 6 months old, it does not work.
- If your child has a serious allergy to thimerosal , a thimerosal-free vaccine should be given.
The influenza vaccine is safe for individuals with an egg allergy.
Who Should Get The Flu Shot Who Shouldnt
People over 6 months of age should receive the flu shot each year.
Its particularly important for people who are at an increased risk for flu-related complications to be vaccinated.
- anyone living or working in a nursing home or chronic care facility
- caregivers of any of the above
Children under 6 months of age shouldnt receive the influenza vaccine. To protect these children from potential exposure to the virus, all family members or caregivers should be vaccinated.
This is called herd immunity and will help protect those who cant receive the vaccine.
Additionally, if youre currently sick with an acute illness, you may need to wait until youre better to receive the vaccine.
Before youre vaccinated, you should let your doctor know if youve had:
- a prior allergic reaction to the flu vaccine
- complications from vaccines
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
These factors may indicate that you should not get the flu shot. But check with your doctor to see what they recommend.
Many flu shots contain a small amount of egg protein. If you have a history of egg allergies, talk with your doctor about receiving the flu shot.
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Can My Child Get Flu From A Flu Vaccine
No, flu vaccines do not cause flu. Flu vaccines are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with
Flu vaccine protects your child from flu illness. However, flu shots can sometimes cause mild side effects that may be mistaken for flu. Keep in mind that it will take about 2 weeks after getting a vaccine for your child to build protection against flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommend children receive all vaccines according to the recommended vaccine schedule.
Why Is It Especially Important To Get A Flu Shot This Year
Until a Covid-19 vaccine is approved, flu vaccinations are among the most effective ways to ensure that hospitals can weather the pandemic, according to Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.
The flu sends hundreds of thousands of Americans to the hospital and causes tens of thousands of deaths annually. Even during a normal season, hospitals often become inundated with patients, Dr. Adalja says.
“Both the flu and the coronavirus are going to be competing for the same emergency department beds, the same hospital beds, the same ICU beds, the same mechanical ventilators, the same personal protective equipment and even the same diagnostic test ,” Dr. Adalja tells CNBC Make It. “The more we can decrease the burden of influenza, the more room we’ll have to take care of Covid-19 patients.”
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