What You Don’t Know About Flu Shots Won’t Kill You
The debate is damaging because it asks us to consider vaccination as good or evil. But its all good
Look out, girl, the nurse says brightly as she prepares my flu shot, cause this is gonna hurt! She has just had a flu shot of her own and her arm is sore. Im getting vaccinated to celebrate the publication of my book about vaccination, but its a dubious celebration because the flu shot tends to give me not just a sore arm, but also deep body aches and a few days of malaise.
Before I began reading the history and science of vaccination five years ago, I avoided the flu shot. I secretly believed that it was poison, toxic to my system. I used to joke with a friend of mine who is HIV positive that getting a flu shot was just as bad as getting the flu, though we both knew better, even before he got a case of the flu that landed him in the hospital with pneumonia.
Compared to much of what finds its way into our bodies, particularly alcohol, the flu shot is remarkably benign. But there is something counterintuitive about the fact that our immune system can make us feel ill even as it protects us from illness. Regulation is the term immunologists use for the internal checks and balances that prevent our immune response from doing harm to our bodies. Fever and inflammation can be dangerous if they are not properly regulated by the body, just as food and water can be dangerous if they are not properly regulated by the state.
What’s In The Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine
The nasal spray flu vaccine contains small amounts of weakened flu viruses. They do not cause flu in children.
As the main flu viruses can change each year, a new nasal spray vaccine has to be given each year.
The brand of nasal spray flu vaccine available in the UK is called Fluenz Tetra.
The nasal spray vaccine contains small traces of pork gelatine. If this is not suitable, speak to your child’s nurse or doctor about your options. Your child may be able to have an injected vaccine instead.
You can find a full list of ingredients in the Fluenz Tetra nasal spray patient information leaflet on the emc website.
Overview Of Flu Jab Side Effects
Before receiving the flu vaccination, there are a few flu jab side effects to note. The flu vaccine is very safe, and most people wont experience any side effects after their flu vaccination. If you do have any side effects these should clear up after a day or so.
Side effects tend to be mild, but you may:
- Have a raised temperature
- Have a headache
After the jab, you may feel a mild fever and slight muscle aches for a day or so, however this is completely normal and is nothing to worry about. Others may also have a sore arm after getting your vaccination.
Here, at LloydsPharmacy, we answer all your common questions on the side effects of the flu jab.
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What Are Common Flu Vaccine Side Effects To Expect
According to the CDC, you may experience short-lived, minor side effects of the flu shot or nasal spray vaccineas is the case with any vaccination or medication. You might think that side effects are a bad thing, but theyre actually signs that your immune system is responding and getting ready to protect you.
Heres how it works: The flu shot contains inactivated or incomplete strains of the influenza virus, while the nasal spray contains live attenuated strains. Neither form of the vaccine contains live flu viruses that can thrive in your body.
When you get any type of vaccine, the whole purpose is to expose your immune system to the virus, infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells SELF. Your immune system will start to rev up in response. These dead, partial, and weakened viruses are enough to provoke your immune system to develop antibodies to guard you against live and threatening flu viruses. It usually takes about two weeks for those to kick in and offer you protection, per the CDC.
Sometimes your immune system does this without causing noticeable symptoms, but other times, youll experience a few minor side effects as a result. Here are the most common ones you might experience:
Signs Of A More Serious Reaction
“A very small percentage of people can have a true allergic reaction to the vaccine, including chest tightness, difficulty breathing, wheezing, facial or throat swelling and redness of the eyes,” Teague says. If you experience these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately. Teague says severe allergic reactions usually happen within a few hours of getting the flu shot.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction, according to the CDC, can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling around the eyes or lips
- A fast heartbeat or dizziness
Another possible reaction is an infection where the shot was administered. “Patients can also develop an infection at the injection site, which is manifested as worsening redness, swelling, warmth and tenderness,” Teague says. You should also seek immediate medical attention for this type of reaction.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
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The Flu Shot And Covid
An important update regarding timing between receiving the flu and COVID-19 vaccines for all Victorians including those most vulnerable in our community.
The original recommended timing between receipt of the 2 vaccines was a preferred minimum interval of 2 weeks .
Based on the latest medical advice the preferred minimum interval between vaccinations for COVID-19 and the flu is now 7 days.
Can A Flu Vaccine Give Me Flu
No, a flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines that are administered with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been killed and are therefore not infectious, or b) with proteins from a flu vaccine virus instead of flu vaccine viruses . Nasal spray vaccine is made with attenuated live flu viruses, and also cannot cause flu illness. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they are designed to only cause infection at the cooler temperatures found within the nose. The viruses cannot infect the lungs or other areas where warmer temperatures exist.
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Is It True That The Flu Vaccine Can Cause Febrile Seizures In Young Children
A is a convulsion in a child with a fever . They can occur in up to 1 in 20 children aged between 6 months and 6 years old. Febrile seizures usually last around 1 to 2 minutes with loss of consciousness, but nearly all children will recover quickly, regardless of the cause.
Influenza itself can cause fever and results in more febrile seizures than vaccination. In one study, more than 1 in 20 children hospitalised with the flu in Australia had a febrile seizure. In comparison, only 1 in 20,000 children will have a febrile seizure related to fever following a flu shot.
The Real Reason You Feel Tired After The Flu Shot
The flu is not just an uncomfortable illness, it’s also potentially deadly. From late 2019 into early 2020, up to 56 million cases of the flu were reported in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control , with somewhere between 24,000 and 62,000 deaths.
That’s why the flu shot is recommended every year by doctors. Inoculation against influenza can prevent you from falling ill with the flu, reduce symptoms if you do catch it, and protect others through herd immunity, according to Bustle.
But you might be wary of side effects of the shot, including the feeling of fatigue that some people report. According to experts, however, it’s a normal reaction and, while bothersome, is nothing to fear.
Dr. Gustavo Ferrer of the Cleveland Clinic Florida Cough Center told Bustle that the tiredness some people feel is simply the body’s defenses gearing up to protect you. “The symptoms are the result of the antibodies produced by our body in order to build up an immune response. In essence, a foreign substance entering our body that our defenses recognize and respond with fatigue, tiredness, low-grade fever, and lousiness,” he said. Fatigue should pass within a day or so and should not be harmful.
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What Should I Do If I Have Had A Serious Reaction To Seasonal Flu Vaccine
Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when you got the flu shot.
Ask your doctor, nurse, or health department to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting Systemexternal icon form, or call VAERS at 1-800-822-7967. Reports are welcome from all concerned individuals: patients, parents, health care providers, pharmacists and vaccine manufacturers.
Pregnancy And Influenza Immunisation
Pregnant women are at increased risk of complications from influenza. Influenza vaccine is strongly recommended and safe for pregnant women at any time during pregnancy. It can also be safely given while breastfeeding.
Influenza vaccination of pregnant women also protects infants against influenza for the first 6 months after birth due to transplacental transfer of antibodies from the vaccinated woman to the unborn baby.
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Can People Have An Allergic Reaction To The Flu Shot
A flu immunization may produce an allergic reaction, but instances of this are very rare, and effective treatments can quickly resolve any trouble.
Most vaccines are developed from chicken eggs. The CDC cautions that people who have a history of a severe egg allergy should be vaccinated in a medical setting, supervised by a healthcare provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions.
Two completely egg-free flu vaccine options are now widely available the quadrivalent recombinant vaccine and the quadrivalent cell-based vaccine.
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/7yes It Is Safe To Get Your Covid
The flu season is here and we’ve all been concerned about the toll it could take on us, especially with COVID-19 still wreaking a lot of havoc in and around the world.
That said, getting yourself vaccinated has become more important than ever.
A lot of people have been wondering whether or not they can get their flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine together. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention clarifies and says that it is absolutely safe to get both the vaccine doses around the same time, and that getting the two vaccines together does not pose any harm.
While usually people are advised to space out the vaccine shots, with COVID and flu vaccines, there is no need, as per experts.
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Why Is There An Age
There is an age-specific influenza vaccine available free to those aged 65 years and older. This vaccine is formulated to provide increased protection against influenza for older people. This influenza vaccine is designed specifically to increase the immune systems response to the vaccine and provide increased protection against influenza infections for older people. There is no increase in the risk of severe adverse effects compared with other influenza vaccines however, there is an increased likelihood of redness, pain and swelling at the injection site. Fever, sore muscles, and tiredness can also occur but usually only last one to two days after vaccination. The vaccine will be available through family doctors and selected pharmacies.
Q: What Are The Symptoms Of The Flu
A: The typical symptoms a person with the flu may experience include a sudden onset of fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, runny nose and watery eyes. Children may experience vomiting and diarrhoea in addition to these symptoms, however, these symptoms are uncommon in adults.
Although the fever and body aches usually last for 3 5 days, a cough and fatigue may persist for two weeks or more and, in cases of serious infections, complications such as pneumonia and inflammation of the heart and/or lungs can occur resulting in a much longer illness.
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Can The Flu Shot Give Me The Flu
No. All flu vaccines used in Australia are inactivated, which means they do not contain the live flu virus so you can’t catch the flu from the vaccine.
Less than 1 in 6 people experience side effects from the flu shot that are similar to the early signs of the flu. These may include fever, tiredness and muscle aches. These side effects can start within a few hours of vaccination and sometimes last for 1 to 2 days. They usually go away on their own, once your body has developed an immune response to the vaccine, which will protect you from the flu virus.
Its important to remember that the side effects show the vaccine is triggering an immune response, which is what its designed to do.
Can You Get The Flu Vaccine And Covid
You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine during the same visit, according to the CDC and based on extensive research with vaccines, Dr. Carney says. This gives people the opportunity to get vaccinated for both flu and COVID-19 at the same time, increasing their protection against both of these infections.
While there isnt a ton of information or research available on getting the COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time, the CDC makes their recommendation based on research into how people react to other combinations of vaccines. Its not clear if getting both vaccines at the same time will increase your chances of having side effects. Early research done in the U.K. of 670 adults shows that people who received their second COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time were more likely to have local reactions, which includes side effects like arm pain and swelling near the injection site, compared to people who only got the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the November 2021 paper published in The Lancet2.
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The Bottom Line On Flu Shots And Side Effects
It’s normal to feel soreness, redness, tenderness, or even develop a mild fever or body aches during the two days after you get vaccinatedthats just your immune response, not the flu illness itself.
So theres no reason to avoid getting the flu shot because you think itll make you sick. Unless you have severe or life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine or any ingredients in it, you should roll up your sleeves for one each year, the CDC says .
Getting sick with the flu is more dangerous than many people think. While most people will recover, some people can develop complications from the influenza virus, which can include sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, and inflammation of the heart , brain , or muscle . It can even be deadly.
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.
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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.
More information is available at Who Needs a Flu Vaccine.
Different influenza vaccines are approved for use in people in different age groups. In addition, some vaccines are not recommended for certain groups of people. Factors that can determine a persons suitability for vaccination, or vaccination with a particular vaccine, include a persons age, health and any allergies to flu vaccine or its components. For more information, visit Who Should and Who Should NOT get a Flu Vaccine.