Myth #: The Body Can Defend Itself Against Influenza
One of the most common myths I hear is that weve all been exposed to the virus, so the body can create a natural immune response to defend itself, Lopez says. Yes, our bodies have a natural immune response, but its not necessarily enough to protect you from serious illness. The vaccine, however, prompts the body to produce additional antibodies, giving you a much better protective barrier against illness.
What Are The Types Of Flu Vaccines
Two types of flu vaccine are available for the 20202021 flu season. Both protect against the four types of influenza virus that are causing disease this season::
- the flu shot, which is injected with a needle
- the nasal spray, a mist which gets sprayed into the nostrils
In the past, the nasal spray vaccine wasn’t recommended for kids because it didn’t seem to work well enough. The newer version appears to work as well as the shot. So either vaccine can be given this year, depending on the child’s age and general health.
The nasal spray is only for healthy people ages 249. People with weak immune systems or some health conditions and pregnant women should not get the nasal spray vaccine.
How Is The Safety Of Flu Vaccines Monitored
CDC and the Food and Drug Administration closely monitor the safety of vaccines approved for use in the United States. CDC uses two primary systems to monitor the safety of flu vaccines:
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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Do Flu Vaccines Cause Any Side Effects
Like any medical product, vaccines can cause side effects. Side effects of the flu vaccine are generally mild and go away on their own within a few days.
Common side effects from the flu shot include:
- Soreness, redness, and/or swelling from the shot
- Muscle aches
The flu shot, like other injections, can occasionally cause fainting.
Some studies have found a possible small association of injectable flu vaccine with Guillain-Barré syndrome . Overall, these studies estimated the risk for GBS after vaccination as fewer than 1 or 2 cases of GBS per one million people vaccinated. Other studies have not found any association. GBS also, rarely, occurs after flu illness. Even though GBS following flu illness is rare, GBS is more common following flu illness than following flu vaccination. GBS has not been associated with the nasal spray vaccine.
Getting The Actual Flu Will Make Me Immune
Some people might think that if a housemate is sick, they’ll probably catch it anyway, and the virus will do a better job at making them immune for the next time the flu comes around.
The CDC reports that this is a bad decision — getting the flu comes with the risks of dehydration, hospitalization and other health complications, even if you’re a relatively healthy person before getting sick. It’s far better to get the vaccine in advance than to wait for what you may think is inevitable.
You won’t have to buy any of this stuff if you don’t get the flu .
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Side Effects Of The Flu Vaccine
It’s important to understand that the flu vaccine does not cause the flu. But some people will experience reactions to flu vaccination, and these can be similar to flu symptoms. Most of these side effects are mild and tend to resolve on their own within a day or two.
Though the flu shot and the FluMist nasal flu vaccine share some side effects, there are also differences:
These common side effects, however, are not necessarily symptoms of a serious reaction, like an allergy.
While there is a possibility of an allergic reaction to either type of flu vaccine, the actual incidence of flu vaccine allergy is low, affecting only one or two people out of every million doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of The Flu Vaccine
Flu vaccines come in two forms, a shot and a nasal spray:
- The flu shot usually is injected into the upper arm or thigh, depending on a person’s age. It contains killed flu virus. It can cause soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Rarely, it might cause a low fever or body aches.
- The nasal spray flu vaccine contains weakened live flu viruses. So it may cause mild flu-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, wheezing, sore throat, vomiting, or tiredness. Like the shot, it can sometimes cause a low fever or body aches.
Both vaccine types cause the body to make antibodies to fight off infection by the live flu virus, and they work equally well. This flu season , get whichever vaccine your doctor recommends. People with weak immune systems or some health conditions and pregnant women should not get the nasal spray vaccine.
The flu vaccine is very good at protecting against the flu, but it’s not 100%. And it only works against some types of the virus. If a new flu type appears, a person who’s had the vaccine may not be protected against it.
A few people who get the vaccine might get the flu. But the illness will be much milder and go away sooner than if they weren’t vaccinated.
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Myth #: Healthy People Dont Die From The Flu
Although it is true that people with underlying health conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or cancer have a greater risk of flu-related complications and death, plenty of otherwise healthy adults and children wind up in the hospital from influenza. Some even die from the disease, making arguments against the flu vaccine thin on this ground.
But lets assume for a second that you have only mild symptoms, or youre among the 20 to 30 percent of flu carriers who have no symptoms at all. Even so, you can spread influenza to others who may not be so lucky they could become extremely ill or even die. The best way to protect yourself and those around you is clear: Get an annual flu vaccine.
What Should I Do If I Think I Am Having A Severe Reaction To A Flu Vaccine
If you think it is a severe allergic reaction or other emergency that cant wait, call 9-1-1 and get to the nearest hospital. Otherwise, call your doctor.
Afterward, the reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System . Your doctor might file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS websiteexternal icon, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.
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Doe The Flu Shot Affect Pregnancy
Flu shots are safe and highly recommended during pregnancy to protect both the parent and the baby.
People can safely receive a shot at any time during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, a person is more likely to have serious flu complications due to a higher strain on their heart, lungs, and immune system.
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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Who Should Not Get A Flu Vaccine
Children younger than 6 months cannot get a flu shot. Those who’ve had a severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past should not get that type of flu shot again, and should speak with their health care provider about whether they can receive another type of flu shot, the CDC says. Similarly, people who’ve had a life-threatening reaction to ingredients in flu vaccines besides egg proteins shouldn’t get flu vaccines with those ingredients, and should speak with their health care provider about whether there is a flu vaccine that’s right for them, the CDC says.
People with egg allergies can still receive any type of flu shot that’s recommend for their age group, even if the flu shot is made with egg-based technology , the CDC says. Studies have found that people with egg allergies are very unlikely to experience a severe reaction to flu vaccines. People who’ve had a severe allergic reaction to egg should get their flu shot under the supervision of a health care provider who can treat severe allergic reactions, the CDC says. In addition, several types of flu shots are egg-free, including recombinant flu vaccines and cell-based flu vaccines.
You should not get the flu vaccine if you have a high fever.
However, if you have minor illness, like a mild cold or a headache, you can still get a flu shot, Schaffner said. “The vaccine does perfectly well in those folks.”
Do The Covid Vaccines Work Against The Omicron Variant
Yes, but not as well, according to early studies. A study from Discovery Health, South Africa’s largest private health insurer, shows that two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which provided over 90% protection against infection with the original version of the virus, is only 33% protective against any omicron infection.
That’s protection against catching it at all. Full vaccination still provides 70% protection against severe disease or death, the study showed, although it declined somewhat in people over 60 and more so for people over 70. it’s too soon to say for sure how well. A previous study suggested that booster shots and previous infection combined with vaccination were both effective.
COVID-19 vaccine developers Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have all pledged to reformulate their shots to protect against omicron if needed, which may include an omicron-specific booster.
It is imperative that we are proactive as the virus evolves, Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, said in a statement. The mutations in the omicron variant are concerning and for several days, we have been moving as fast as possible to execute our strategy to address this variant.
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What Precautions Should I Take Against The Omicron Variant
“At the rate that it seems to be spreading, there isn’t a surveillance system on the planet truly that could keep up with it,” Bronwyn MacInnis, director of pathogen genomic surveillance at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, said.
In some parts of the country, there are hints omicron already accounts for about 15% of cases, said Jeremy Luban, a virus expert at the UMass Chan Medical School.
Omicron has been moving faster even than the most pessimistic among us thought that it was going to move,” said Dr. Jacob Lemieux, an infectious disease expert at Massachusetts General Hospital. Theres a high likelihood that it will come to your holiday gathering.
Take the same steps that have been effective at preventing or reducing the risk of COVID infection: vaccination, masks in indoor public places or around vulnerable people, social distancing, boosters if you received your first shots more than six months ago. Pay attention to the COVID numbers in your area if there are a higher number of cases and a lower percentage of vaccinated people you may want to take more precautions.
The CDC has updated its guidance, recommending that all adults 18 and older should get a booster shot either six months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine series or two months after their initial J& J vaccine.
Omicron precautions: CDC director says recommendations for protection the same, ‘regardless of the variant’
What Should I Know About The 2021
For starters, its important to know that its highly recommended that you get vaccinated against the flu even though last years flu season was mild, thanks, in large part, to many people masking, staying indoors, and taking other preventive measures to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
A minimal flu season last year doesnt mean were in the clear this year. In fact, weve already seen flu outbreaks this flu season, such as the massive outbreak at the University of Michigan campus. Dr. Agarwal says theres a possibility that outbreaks will continue throughout the flu season as people loosen up on illness-reducing behaviors like wearing face masks. And its important to remember that some people do end up with complications from the flu.
Flu viruses are always changing, so flu vaccine formulas are reviewed every year to best protect people against the viruses that are predicted to cause the most illness, according to the CDC. All of the vaccines available for the 2021-2022 flu season, whether theyre via nasal or needle administration, protect against the same four flu viruses circulating heavily right now.
According to the CDC, one vaccine isnt any better than the other, but if you have any questions about whether one might be best for you, then its always safest to talk to your doctor.
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What Are The Symptoms For The Flu
More or less the same thing, except for the loss of taste or smell.
COVID-19 symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after exposure to the coronavirus. Influenza symptoms start to show up about one to four days after exposure to an influenza virus.
But COVID-19 can cause more serious illnesses in some people than the flu, as well as complications such as blood clots, lasting respiratory problems.
Do you have symptoms of the flu or COVID-19? Here is how you can tell the difference.
The Flu Shot Doesn’t Even Work
It can be hard to believe in the power of the vaccination, especially when you or someone you know has still gotten sick after getting the shot. The CDC makes it clear that the flu vaccine isn’t perfect — no vaccine is. However, the flu shot is still the best way to prevent getting the flu.
While effectiveness varies from season to season, during times when the vaccine has matched the virus well, the CDC estimates that the flu shot reduces the risk of having to visit the doctor with the illness by 40% to 60%.
Plus, it’s not just the flu — the vaccination works well in reducing hospitalizations for any flu-related conditions. In recent years the vaccine reduced children’s chances of landing in the ICU by 74% and adults by 40%.
Getting a flu shot might not be fun, but getting the flu is worse.
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What If I Have Allergies
There are different options, and the vaccine is made with such small amounts of egg that it is not a major concern for those with allergies. For those who are still concerned, the vaccine without any egg is also available, Sampathkumar said. Those who want or need an alternative can get a nasal spray instead of an injection.
Benefits Of An Annual Flu Shot
Every year in the United States and around the world, millions of people are infected by the flu virus. In the US alone, the CDC estimates as many as 11% of people are infected with the flu each year thats more than 30 million people. In some people, influenza causes uncomfortable symptoms like fever, chills, headaches, and muscle aches and pains. But in others, the effects are much more serious and sometimes even life-threatening.
The best way to reduce your risks of getting the flu is to have an annual flu vaccine. At Healthy Life Family Medicine in Goodyear, Arizona, top-ranked primary care doctor John Monroe, MD, offers the most up-to-date flu vaccines for patients of all ages according to the most recent CDC recommendations. Heres why you should schedule your flu shot today.
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Who Shouldn’t Get A Flu Shot
Some people shouldn’t get a flu shot, regardless of whether they’re sick at the time. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if any of these apply to you or your child:
- Being under 6 months of age
- Previous severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine
- If you’ve ever had Guillain-Barré syndrome
In these situations, talk to your healthcare provider about whether the flu vaccine is safe for you.
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:
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