Headache And Other Aches And Pains
After your shot, you might have headaches or some achiness and pain in the muscles throughout your body. This also usually happens on the first day and goes away within two days. Taking pain relievers can help ease your discomfort.
Its controversial whether its safe to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to treat these vaccine side effects.
Some research suggests that these medications might change or decrease how your body responds to the vaccine. One study involving children found that taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen didnt reduce the bodys response to the flu vaccine.
Other research is mixed. Its still unclear whether these medications should be avoided.
Severe Wheezing Requiring Hospitalization
- Risk factors: Children under 2 | Children under 5 years with a history of wheezing | People with asthma
The nasal spray flu vaccine can cause certain people to have severe wheezing that leads to a hospital stay. Children under 2 years old, children under 5 years old with a history of wheezing, and people who have asthma have a higher risk of this. These groups of people should only receive the injectable flu vaccine, because it’s not known to cause severe wheezing.
How Effective Is The Flu Vaccine
The effectiveness of the seasonal flu vaccine depends upon several factors, including how well the flu strains in the vaccine match the strains in circulation. Some studies show that when strains in the vaccine are a good match with the ones that are circulating, vaccinated individuals are 60 percent less likely to catch the flu than people who aren’t vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Flu vaccine effectiveness can also vary depending on the person being vaccinated the vaccine tends to work best in healthy adults and older children, and less well in older adults.
For instance, a 2013 study from the CDC found that the year’s flu vaccine was not very effective in adults ages 65 and over: Older people who got the vaccine were just as likely to visit the doctor for flu symptoms as those who did not get the vaccine.
But other studies suggest that individuals who do get sick develop less serve symptoms if they are vaccinated. A 2013 study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that people who got the flu shot were less likely to be hospitalized with the flu.
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When You Should Get Vaccinated
The seasonal flu vaccine is different every year. The formula is based on what experts believe are the strains most likely to cause illness the following season. Therefore, it is important to get a flu shot every year.
The flu shot takes two weeks to become effective after it is given, so it’s best not to wait until people around you start getting the flu before you’re vaccinated.
If you’re at high risk for the flu and related complications, you should get your vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
Seasonal flu shots generally become available in the fall between September and November.
Some people think that if they get the flu, there’s no reason to get the flu vaccine. However, that’s not the safest approach. Typically, multiple strains of the flu virus go around each year. While the flu shot can protect against three strains of flu or four strains , just because you get a strain of influenza A in December doesn’t mean you can’t get a different strain of influenza B later in the season.
Whats New And Resources For The 2021
The CDC maintains a page dedicated to the current flu season. There is a section for the public and also a section for providers. This is a good place to get up-to-date information on influenza and influenza vaccination. You can find it here:
Note that the CDCs Flu FAQ page currently includes lots of information about influenza and COVID-19, such as how to tell them apart, why its safe to be vaccinated for both at the same time, and more.
The CDC also provides information specific to older adults here:
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Nasal Spray Vaccine Side Effects
The nasal spray vaccine is available for non-pregnant people ages 2 to 49 who don’t have serious, underlying illnesses, says CDC. It’s mostly used in pediatrics, though there are certainly adults who decide they’d rather skip the needle if they can. This vaccine isn’t just an inhaled version of the injectable. Instead it contains a weakenednot killedversion of the flu virus to stimulate the immune system.
“This vaccine evokes real protection because the flu viruses multiply in the nose and the back of the throat,” says Dr. Schaffner. The reason this vaccine doesn’t cause the illness it’s designed to protect, he explains, is that the virus is specially engineered so that it dies as soon as it’s exposed to the slightly higher temperatures inside the body.
The most common side effects for this vaccine, according to the CDC, are:
- Runny nose or nasal congestion
Other possible side effects are vomiting, muscle aches, fever, sore throat, and cough. According to the CDC, “if these problems occur, they usually begin soon after vaccination and are mild and short-lived.”
Myth #: The Flu Isn’t Serious
“The flu is certainly a very serious disease,” Cunningham said.
Every year, between 15 million and 60 million cases of the flu are reported in the U.S., Cunningham said. More than 200,000 people with the flu are admitted to hospitals yearly. And between 3,000 and 50,000 people in the U.S. die of the flu yearly. During the 2019-2020 flu season, early estimates by the CDC suggest 38 million Americans were infected with the flu and 22,000 people died from it.
One reason people may not perceive the flu as being serious is that cases of the “stomach flu” are mistaken for influenza virus infections. “True influenza is an infection of the lungs and respiratory tract,” Cunningham said. Infected people may develop a high fever, body aches and nasal congestion, he said.
People with the stomach flu which is commonly caused by a virus called norovirus have diarrhea, cramping and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Influenza does not cause such symptoms.
This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to offer medical advice.
Originally published on Live Science.
Rachael has been with Live Science since 2010. She has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.
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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.
Making Sure Vaccines Are Safe
Vaccines must be tested to make sure theyre safe and effective before being approved for use in Canada. Once a vaccine has been approved for use in Canada, its monitored for:
- effectiveness in people
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada share the responsibility for ongoing safety monitoring, which also involves:
- provincial, territorial and local public health authorities
- health care professionals
Experts have developed many different types of vaccines to protect us from germs .
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Why Is The Flu Vaccine Important
Most people who get the flu have a mild illness. But for some, it can be serious and even deadly. Serious complications from the flu are more likely in babies and young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with certain long-term health conditions like diabetes or asthma.
Getting vaccinated every year is the best way to lower your chances of getting the flu. Flu vaccines cant cause the flu. Keep in mind that getting the flu vaccine also protects the people around you. So when you and your family get vaccinated, you help keep yourselves and your community healthy.
This is especially important if you spend time with people who are at risk for serious illness from the flu like young children or older adults. Learn more about how vaccines help protect your whole community.
The flu is caused by a virus. Common symptoms of the flu include:
- Fever and chills
- Feeling very tired
Some people with the flu may throw up or have diarrhea this is more common in children than adults. Its also important to know that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.
The flu is worse than the common cold. Its a common cause of problems like sinus or ear infections. It can also cause serious complications like:
- Worsening of long-term health problems, like asthma or heart failure
- Inflammation of the brain, heart, or muscles
- Multi-organ failure
The flu is contagious, meaning it can spread from person to person. The flu can spread when:
What Else Can I Do To Protect Myself From The Flu
Dr. Gandhi stressed that Covid-19 precautions hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing and isolating yourself when sick also help prevent the spread of flu. I would encourage people to go into this fall and winter season trying to also be adherent to all of those preventive health measures, she said.
Melinda Wenner Moyer is a science journalist.
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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.
Senior Flu Shot Side Effects
The senior flu shot is considered safe, but it may cause mild side effects related to inflammation and the bodys immune response. During the week after getting the vaccine, seniors may experience the following symptoms:
- Soreness, tenderness, redness, or swelling at the injection site
- Headache or muscle aches
According to the CDC, you should check with the doctor before getting your loved one a senior flu shot if they have one of the following conditions or reactions:
- An allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients, other than eggs
- A serious auto-immune disorder, e.g., Guillain-Barre syndrome
- A fever
- An allergic reaction to the flu shot in the past
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You Shouldn’t Get The Flu
There is a lot of misinformation about the influenza vaccine. There aren’t any active viruses in the shot, so there’s no way you can get the flu from the jab. This misconception probably comes from the fact that most people get the flu shot during flu season an individual may have already contracted the infection before administration of the vaccine.
Myth #: It Contains Thimerosal Which May Be Harmful
Thimerosal a preservative that contains mercury has never been shown to be harmful, Cunningham said. The type of mercury linked with nervous system damage is methyl mercury, he said. Concerns over levels of methyl have led to recommendations that pregnant women avoid eating large amounts of certain types of fish, such as swordfish.
In contrast, thimerosal is an ethyl mercury compound.
Still, because the preservative raised controversy, especially over a now-disproven link to autism, it was taken out of almost all U.S. vaccines starting in 2001, Cunningham said.
The injectable form of the flu vaccine is available to health care providers as large, multidose bottles and small vials carrying individual doses. A tiny amount of thimerosal is added to the multidose bottles to ensure that no bacteria will grow in the vaccine, Cunningham said. The individual-dose bottles contain no thimerosal.
The nasal spray form of the flu vaccine also contains no thimerosal, he noted.
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Why Do You Need A Flu Vaccine Every Year
You need a flu vaccine every year for two reasons. First, flu viruses change and the flu vaccine is updated each year to target the flu viruses that are anticipated to spread that year. Second, the protection you get from a flu vaccine lessens with time, especially in older people. Getting your flu vaccine every fall gives you the best protection from that year’s flu viruses.
A Flu Vaccine Is The Best Protection Against Flu
Flu vaccination has many benefits. It has been shown to reduce flu illnesses and also to reduce the risk of more serious flu outcomes that can result in hospitalization or even death in older people. Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
The best way to protect against flu and its potentially serious complications is with a flu vaccine. CDC recommends that almost everyone 6 months and older get a seasonal flu vaccine each year, ideally by the end of October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout flu season, even into January or later.
Flu vaccination is especially important for people 65 years and older because they are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications. Flu vaccines are updated each season to keep up with changing viruses. Also, immunity wanes over a year so annual vaccination is needed to ensure the best possible protection against flu. Because immunity may decrease more quickly in older people, it is especially important that this group is not vaccinated too early . September and October are generally good times to be vaccinated for people 65 years and older.
How Can Influenza Be Prevented
You can reduce the risk of getting influenza or spreading it to others by:
- Washing your hands regularly
- Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that people touch
- Promptly disposing of used tissues in the waste basket or garbage
- Coughing and sneezing into your shirt sleeve rather than your hands
- Staying home when you are ill
- Getting an influenza vaccine
Getting an influenza vaccine can help prevent you from getting sick with influenza and from spreading it to others.
What Are The Rare Side Effects
Fortunately, serious side effects from the flu vaccine are very rare, says HHS. One is a very small increased risk of Guillain-Barré Syndrome , a neurological disease.
“Guillaume-Barre syndrome occurs after about one in a million doses of vaccine,” says Dr. Schaffner. “If someone has GBS within six weeks of receiving the flu vaccine, they shouldn’t get the vaccine again.” Most people fully recover from GBS. And as the CDC points out, there’s research to suggest that the risk of developing GBS is actually higher after getting the flu than it is from getting the vaccine.
Severe allergic reactions are “extremely rare,” affecting fewer than 1 or 2 people in a million, says HHS. Per the CDC, signs of a severe reaction can include:
- Difficulty breathing
Anytime someone experiences such symptoms, call 911 or head to the nearest hospital.
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Does The Flu Shot Cause Autism
Some people have concerns that the flu vaccine, and other vaccinations, can cause autism.
However, according to the CDC , studies have shown that there is no link between vaccination and autism.
There are many other myths circulating about vaccinations, including the notion that they weaken the immune system, give people flu, or contain unsafe toxins. These claims are not based on scientific evidence.
Matching The Flu Shot To The Virus
Every year, new strains of flu spread around the globe. There are hundreds of different strains, but the manufacturers of flu vaccines can only include three or four types in the shot each year.
When manufacturers match flu shots well to the active flu viruses that year, it can reduce the risk of flu by 4060% .
The 20112012 flu shot was a good match, and a study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases states that it was 71.4% effective that year.
In some years, flu predictions may be less accurate, or the virus may change before flu season begins. In these cases, the vaccine is still helpful.
For instance, the 20142015 flu season was a particularly severe flu season partly because one of the viruses mutated, leading to a
CDC recommend getting a flu shot in September or October, but getting it any time during flu season will help. The shot takes effect in about 2 weeks.
The flu shot is effective for about a year. This means that people need a new shot for protection each flu season, even if the strains in the shot are the same.
Despite controversies over the safety of flu shots, scientific evidence supports them as safe and effective ways for preventing seasonal flu.
Most people aged 6 months and over should receive the flu shot each year.
How and where people get a flu shot may vary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The
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