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 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 injury, or death.
How To Book Your Appointment
If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can book an appointment at your GP surgery or a pharmacy that offers it on the NHS.
You may also get an invitation to get the vaccine, but you do not have to wait for this before booking an appointment.
Everyone who is eligible for the free flu vaccine will be able to get it.
GP surgeries and pharmacies get the flu vaccine in batches. If you cannot get an appointment straight away, ask if you can book an appointment for when more vaccines are available.
If you have an appointment for a COVID-19 booster vaccine at a GP surgery or pharmacy, you may also be offered a flu vaccine at the same time.
Do not delay booking your flu vaccine appointment so that you can get both vaccines together. Only some people will be offered both vaccines at the same time.
Should You Get A Flu Shot
In general, every person with diabetes needs a flu shot each year. Talk with your doctor about having a flu shot. Flu shots do not give 100% protection, but they do make it less likely for you to catch the flu for about six months.
For extra safety, it’s a good idea for the people you live with or spend a lot of time with to get a flu shot, too. You are less likely to get the flu if the people around you don’t have it.
The best time to get your flu shot is beginning in September. The shot takes about two weeks to take effect.
If youre sick , ask if you should wait until you are healthy again before having your flu shot. And don’t get a flu shot if you are allergic to eggs.
You are advised to continue to take the general precautions of preventing seasonal flu and other communicable illnesses and diseases:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash. If you dont have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
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Are There Risks To Getting A Flu Shot When Youre Sick
If you do get a flu shot when youre sick, dont worry you wont hurt yourself or make yourself sicker. However, its best to let your body focus on dealing with your existing illness.
The immune system is preoccupied with fighting off what youre already sick with, says Dr. Ford. And so you want your system in a prepared state. That way when you get the vaccine, you get a good response. And that bolsters your immunity to influenza that will hopefully last you through the whole flu season.
In a perfect world, getting a flu shot would ensure you stay healthy. But if you get sick a few days after getting a flu shot, will that hurt your chances of developing immunity for the season?
Thankfully, likely not. The immune response to any vaccination happens fairly quickly, typically within the first 24 to 48 hours, says Dr. Ford. So if you find yourself sick later on its a funny thing, because people always say, Well, I got sick from the flu shot. However, the illness was probably there to begin with, and you just hadnt started feeling symptoms. As long as your symptoms are minimal, your bodys going to have a great chance to mount the immunity.
Why We Need New Flu Vaccines Every Year
There are several reasons a new flu vaccine must be made each year.
Flu viruses can change from year to year, so the vaccine is updated to protect against new virus strains that are expected to circulate in the U.S. The vaccine needs to include influenza virus strains that most closely match those in circulation for the influenza season. In addition, the protection provided by the flu vaccine a person received in the previous year will diminish over time and may be too low to prevent influenza disease into next years flu season.
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Yes You Need Both Vaccines
While both the flu and COVID-19 are respiratory diseases with overlapping symptoms, you still need and a specific vaccine to protect you against each virus.
In other words, the flu vaccine wont you protect you from COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine wont protect you from the flu.
And while no vaccine is 100% effective in keeping you from getting sick, as recent breakthrough COVID-19 infections have shown, these vaccines can often lessen the effects of the disease. In many cases, being vaccinated helps reduce the severity of the illness, says Dr. Rehm.
Children Between Six Months And Eight Years Old Need Something Else
If your child is between six months and eight years old, he or she doesn’t need one regular flu vaccine but may need two doses of the flu shot. Children in this age bracket are more susceptible to experiencing complications from the flu and one single dose of the vaccine may not be enough to build their immunity for flu season. The CDC warns, “Children 2 years of age up to their 5th birthday are more likely than healthy older children to be taken to a doctor, an urgent care center, or the emergency room because of the flu.”
Children within this age bracket who are being vaccinated for the first time or who had only one flu shot last season should get two doses of the vaccine. The CDC recommends obtaining the second dose at least 28 days after the first dose has been given. The first dose primes the child’s immune system while the second dose provides immune protection for the season. Since this process takes longer and the flu shot doesn’t begin protecting against the illness until two weeks after it’s administered, take your child in early. Consider getting your child’s first flu shot as soon as the vaccines become available for the season.
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Can I Get A Flu Shot While Sick
Michael Menna, DO, is a board-certified, active attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.
Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself against influenza A and B. Those are the viruses that cause seasonal flu.
But if you’re sick when your appointment rolls around, ask your provider whether you should postpone the shot until you’re feeling better.
If you have just a minor illness like a cold, you can still get a flu vaccine. If you’re sicker or have a fever, your healthcare provider will likely recommend waiting.
This article explains the potential problems of getting a flu shot when you’re sick, when it’s best to get the vaccine, and why some people should avoid it entirely.
Verywell / Cindy Chung
Vaccines trigger an immune response in your body. Here’s how it works:
- The vaccine “shows” your immune system the virus.
- Your immune system makes antibodies, which are proteins that target and inactivate the virus.
- Then your body can respond faster when you’re exposed to the flu virus in the future.
- That quick response can keep you from getting sick.
If you’re sick when you get the vaccine, your immune system is already hard at work fighting the other illness. That means it may not have the resources to develop flu antibodies at the same time. So the vaccine may be less effective at preventing the flu.
Why Does The Flu Shots Effectiveness Vary So Much
The flu shots effectiveness has a bit to do with timing and educated guessing. This is because public health scientists and flu virus researchers have to predict 6 months in advance what we think the next years flu virus will look like.
You might be wondering how these predictions are made. Around February of each year, experts with the World Health Organization review data from the last flu season to make an educated guess about what strains are most likely to circulate during the next flu season. These experts then recommend which strains should be covered in the new flu shot. This gives the flu shot manufacturers the 6 months that they need to prepare the new flu shot. In late summer, the seasonal flu shot is typically ready to be given out.
In some seasons, the prediction of the strains matches the reality of the strains spreading in the community. When this happens, the vaccine is very effective. In other seasons, the flu virus may mutate, and strains that are not covered by the vaccine may cause the most illness. In these seasons, the flu shot is less effective.
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The Flu Vaccine Is Safe
To ensure that the flu vaccine is safe, effective, and of high quality, the FDA prepares and provides reagents to manufacturers that they need to make their vaccine and to verify its identity and potency. The FDA also inspects manufacturing facilities regularly and evaluates each manufacturers vaccine annually before it can be approved.
The FDAs oversight doesnt end there. After manufacturers have distributed their vaccines for use by the public, the FDA and CDC work together to routinely evaluate reports of adverse events following vaccination submitted by vaccine manufacturers, health care providers and vaccine recipients to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System .
Additional efforts are in place to monitor vaccine safety. The FDA partners with private organizations that collect health care data and other federal agencies to further evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the influenza vaccines and other vaccines that the FDA has approved or authorized for emergency use.
The Biologics Effectiveness and Safety Initiative is one of the programs the FDA utilizes to assess vaccine safety and effectiveness in real-world conditions, reflecting patient care and the real-world use of the influenza vaccine and other vaccines in the U.S. In addition, the CDC maintains the Vaccine Safety Datalink program, which evaluates the vaccines safety similar to the BEST Initiative. VSD receives its data from nine integrated health care organizations in the U.S.
You Feel Moderately Or Severely Ill
You can still get a flu shot if you have a simple cold or mild illness. However, if you’re moderately or severely ill, it may be best to wait until you feel better to get the flu vaccine. Dr. Monique May, MD, warns the flu shot is also not recommended “if you actually have the flu at the time you go for the shot.”
When you’re severely sick, your body’s immune system is busy trying to fight off your illness. If you get a flu shot, your body may be delayed in producing the immunity response to the flu that the vaccine is trying to achieve. Since your immune system is trying to do two things at once, it may also take you longer to recover from your illness if you get a flu shot when you’re sick.
Moderate or severe illness may include a fever or other symptoms. Talk to the medical provider or your doctor if you’re not feeling well but you’re scheduled for your flu shot. You may need to reschedule when you feel better so your body can fully recover first.
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You Have Something Physical To Do Tomorrow
Have a marathon you’re running tomorrow morning? Scheduled to host a lengthy and involved presentation at work all day? You may want to wait to get your flu shot. While it’s been proven that the flu shot won’t give you the flu, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, there are some side effects you may feel for a few days after getting the vaccine. These side effects may include:
- Redness, swelling, or pain at the flu shot injection site
- Upset stomach
- Muscle aches
In some cases, you may not feel any negative side effects after getting your flu shot. However, if you can plan your shot around a slow week, it may be best, just in case you feel a little under the weather after getting your vaccine.
Why Do Healthy People Need To Get Vaccinated
Healthy people should get vaccinated against the flu vaccine every year because anyone can get seriously ill from the flu virus. Some groups have a higher risk than others. But the flu vaccine helps prevent serious illness and death from the flu in all people who get vaccinated and in people who are unable to get vaccinated. The more people who get the flu vaccine, the more everyone in our community is protected.
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Why The Cdc Updated Its Guidance
When the COVID-19 vaccines first came out, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended not getting other vaccines for 14 days before and after each COVID-19 dose.
The agency changed its guidance in May after data showed that the COVID-19 vaccine was safe and that other vaccines would not interfere with the immune response, experts say.
“That was because we wanted to really assess the side effects of the COVID vaccine as we rolled it out. We didn’t want to get that confused by giving other vaccines at the same time, says William Schaffner, M.D., a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
Now, the CDC says COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines can be administered without regard to timing. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day, as well as coadministration within 14 days.
When Should You Call For Help
anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if after getting the flu vaccine:
- You have symptoms of a severe reaction to the flu vaccine. Symptoms of a severe reaction may include:
- Severe difficulty breathing.
- Sudden raised, red areas all over your body.
- Severe lightheadedness.
or seek immediate medical care if after getting the flu vaccine:
- You think you are having a reaction to the flu vaccine, such as a new fever.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.
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Whos Most At Risk Of Getting The Flu
Typically, children and older people are most at risk of getting sick with influenza. The best way to protect babies who are too young to be vaccinated is to make sure people around them are vaccinated. Occasionally, a flu virus will circulate that disproportionately affects young and middle-age adults.
You also can reduce the spread of the flu and its effects by taking such practical measures as washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when youre sick.
The FDA has approved numerous vaccines for the prevention of influenza. But if you do get the flu, there are FDA-approved antiviral drugs, available by prescription, to treat your illness. There are several FDA-approved antiviral drugs recommended by the CDC for use against circulating influenza viruses. These drugs work best if started soon after the onset of symptoms .
Can I Get Seasonal Flu Even Though I Got A Flu Vaccine This Year
Yes. Its possible to get sick with flu even if you have been vaccinated . This is possible for the following reasons:
You may be exposed to a flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the period that it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated. This exposure may result in you becoming ill with flu before the vaccine begins to protect you.
You may be exposed to a flu virus that is not included in the seasonal flu vaccine. There are many different flu viruses that circulate every year. A flu vaccine is made to protect against the three or four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common.
Unfortunately, some people can become infected with a flu virus a flu vaccine is designed to protect against, despite getting vaccinated. Protection provided by flu vaccination can vary widely, based in part on health and age factors of the person getting vaccinated. In general, a flu vaccine works best among healthy younger adults and older children. Some older people and people with certain chronic illnesses may develop less immunity after vaccination. Flu vaccination is not a perfect tool, but it is the best way to protect against flu infection.
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