Dispelling Misinformation About The Flu Vaccine Sickness Treatment And Recovery
If you’ve ever had the flu, you know how sick you can be. Chances are good that some of the advice friends and family gave you about avoiding or dealing with the flu was wrong. There seems to be no shortage of misinformation and bad advice when it comes to dealing with the flu and the flu shot.
Here are 10 common myths about the flu.
Rare Side Effects Of The Influenza Vaccine
There is a very small risk of a serious allergic reaction to any vaccine. This is why you are advised to stay at the clinic, medical surgery, or pharmacy for at least 15 minutes following vaccination in case further treatment is required.
Apart from anaphylaxis, other extremely rare side effects include in children.
A small increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome was seen in the US in 1976, but since that time, surveillance has shown that it is limited to one case for every million doses of the flu vaccine, if at all.
If any other reactions are severe and persistent, or if you are worried, contact your doctor for further information.
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 .
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Does A Flu Vaccine Increase Your Risk Of Getting Covid
There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccine increases your risk of getting sick from a coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19.
You may have heard about a study published in January 2020 that reported an association between flu vaccination and the risk of four commonly circulating seasonal coronaviruses, but not the one that causes COVID-19. This report was later found to be incorrect.
The results from that initial study led researchers in Canada to look at their data to see if they could find similar results in their population. The results from Canadas study showed that flu vaccination did not increase the risk for these seasonal coronaviruses. The Canadian findings highlighted the protective benefits of flu vaccination.
The Canadian researchers also identified a flaw in the methods of the first study, noting that it violated the part of the study design that compares vaccination rates among patients with and without flu . This flaw led to the incorrect association between flu vaccination and seasonal coronavirus risk. When these researchers reexamined data from the first study using the correct methods, they found that flu vaccination did not increase the risk for infection with other respiratory viruses, including seasonal coronaviruses.
Who Should Get Immunised Against Influenza
Everyone who is able to be vaccinated, should be vaccinated against the flu, every year.
Yearly flu vaccination is provided free through the National Immunisation Program for most people in the community who are at an increased risk of serious complications.
In Victoria, flu vaccination is free for:
- children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 6 months and over
- pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
- people 65 years and over.
- people aged six months and older with medical conditions putting them at increased risk of severe influenza and its complications:
- cardiac disease
- children aged six months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy.
People not eligible for free flu vaccination under the National Immunisation Program can purchase the flu vaccine from their immunisation provider.
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It’s Only Natural To Wonder If There’s Anything Else You Can Do So You Don’t Get Sick
There’s only so much protection you can get from eating the right foods, logging eight hours of sleep, and washing your hands more times than you can count getting the flu vaccine gives you your best chance at avoiding getting sick. And as long as the flu virus is circulatingwhich it isits not too late to get your shot.
Yet even if you already had your flu shot back in the fall when experts recommend getting vaccinated, you might find yourself wondering: Should I get a second flu shot? Youre not totally off base with your questionif you got yours several months ago, it’s reasonable to think its effectiveness has worn off.
Assuming youre older than 8 years old, it turns out you dont need a second flu shot this flu season. A second dose is recommended only for kids ages 6 months through 8 years who have never been vaccinated before or only had one shot in the past, explains Elizabeth Barnett, MD, professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.
Because of the immaturity of immune system, they do not respond well to a single dose of flu vaccine, she says. Though a single dose will not result in a good immune response, it primes the immune system to respond to a second dose, which then results in a good immune response.
Kids who do meet the criteria for a second flu shot should get their first dose as soon as its available. The second dose should be administered at least four weeks later, according to the CDC.
How The Influenza Vaccine Works
The influenza viruses change every year because the influenza virus has a unique ability to change its surface structure. This means that even if you had the flu or an immunisation one year, your bodys immune system might be unable to fight the changed version of the virus that will be circulating the following year.
Each year, a new vaccine is developed and is available for those who wish to be immunised. The seasonal flu vaccine includes protection against four strains of influenza viruses.
The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu because it does not contain live virus. Some people may still contract the flu because the vaccine may not always protect against all strains of the influenza virus circulating in the community.
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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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Why Should People Get Their Flu Shot Early
I encourage people to get their flu vaccine by the end of October. It takes 10 to 14 days from the time you get the vaccine to develop immunity, so getting it early gives you the best protection before the flu season gets in full swing. The longer you wait, the more you increase your chances of catching the flu.
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Who Should Be Immunised Against Influenza
Immunisation against the flu is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and over.
Some people are more at risk of complications from the flu and are eligible for free vaccination.
People with an underlying medical condition or reduced immunity are most at risk and should be immunised against the flu. They include:
- anyone aged 65 years and older
- pregnant women
- all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged from 6 months and over
- people 6 months or older with:
Speak to your immunisation provider to see if you are eligible for a free flu vaccine.
Misconceptions About Seasonal Flu And Flu Vaccines
On June 30, 2022, CDC announced that Director Rochelle P. Walensky adopted the Decision memo approving the ACIP vote for a preferential recommendation for the use of higher dose or adjuvanted flu vaccines over standard-dose unadjuvanted flu vaccines for adults 65 years and older. CDCs full recommendations for the use of flu vaccines during 2022-2023 will appear in a forthcoming Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Edits to this page are also forthcoming. More information can be found online: CDC Director Adopts Preference for Specific Flu Vaccines for Seniors
Note: Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices United States, 2021-2022 Influenza Season has been . More information on the 2021-2022 season is also available.
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What Is The Difference Between The Senior Flu Shot And The Regular One
In response to a regular flu shot, older people produce 50% to 75% fewer antibodies, which protect against the vaccine antigens, than do younger adults. Studies have found higher antibody levels in older adults who received high-dose flu vaccines than in those who received standard-dose flu vaccines.
Can I Get The Influenza Vaccine And Covid
You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time.
Theres a potential of an increase in mild to moderate adverse events when more than 1 vaccine is given at the same time.
Children can also safely receive other vaccines any time before, after or at the same time as their COVID-19 vaccination. If your child has recently received another vaccine , its best to let your immunisation provider know so they can correctly assess any side effects.
As with any other vaccine, vaccination will be deferred if youre unwell. If you experience a side effect such as fever following vaccination, other vaccines will not be administered until the side effect has resolved.
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How Do Flu Vaccines Work
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are used to make the vaccine.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Most flu vaccines in the United States protect against four different flu viruses an influenza A virus, an influenza A virus, and two influenza B viruses. There are also some flu vaccines that protect against three different flu viruses an influenza A virus, an influenza A virus, and one influenza B virus. Two of the trivalent vaccines are designed specifically for people 65 and older to create a stronger immune response.
Why Do I Need A Flu Vaccine Every Year
A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, a persons immune protection from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the viruses that research suggests may be most common during the upcoming flu season. For the best protection, everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated annually.
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What Side Effects Can Occur After Getting A Flu Vaccine
While a flu vaccine cannot give you flu illness, there are different side effects that may be associated with getting a flu shot or a nasal spray flu vaccine. These side effects are mild and short-lasting, especially when compared to symptoms of a bad case of flu.
A flu shot: The viruses in a flu shot are killed , so you cannot get flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that may occur are:
Soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was given
The nasal spray: The viruses in the nasal spray vaccine are weakened and do not cause severe symptoms often associated with influenza illness. In children, side effects from the nasal spray may include:
In adults, side effects from the nasal spray vaccine may include:
If these problems occur, they begin soon after vaccination and usually are mild and short-lived. A flu shot, like other injections, can occasionally cause fainting. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears. As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injuries, or death.
Preparing For Your Vaccine
COVID-19 vaccination significantly lowers your risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death if you get infected. Compared to people who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, unvaccinated people aremore likely to get COVID-19, much more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, and much more likely to die from COVID-19.
Like all vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection. Some people who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations will get COVID-19 breakthrough infection. However, staying up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations means that you are less likely to have a breakthrough infection and, if you do get sick, you are less likely to get severely ill or die. Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccination also means you are less likely to spread the disease to others and increases your protection against new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
There is no recommended waiting period between getting a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines. You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same visit. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, and possible side effects after getting vaccinated are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines.
You should get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you already had COVID-19.
Learn more about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
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Misconceptions About The Timing Of Seasonal Influenza Vaccination
Should I wait to get vaccinated so that my immunity lasts through the end of the season?
How long you are immune or your duration of immunity is discussed in the ACIP recommendations. While delaying getting of vaccine until later in the fall may lead to higher levels of immunity during winter months, this should be balanced against possible risks, such as missed opportunities to receive vaccine and difficulties associated with vaccinating a large number of people within a shorter time period.
Is it too late to get vaccinated after Thanksgiving ?
No. Vaccination can still be beneficial as long as flu viruses are circulating. If you have not been vaccinated by Thanksgiving , it can still be protective to get vaccinated in December or later. Flu is unpredictable and seasons can vary. Seasonal flu disease usually peaks between December and March most years, but disease can occur as late as May.
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.
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