Common Side Effects of Flu Shots
Flu shots are one effective and easy way to protect yourself and your family from the flu each year. Similar to any vaccination, there are mild side effects, but none of which are serious enough to prevent you from getting the shot. The flu virus changes every year and a shot is necessary each fall even if you received a shot the year before. There are many myths surrounding flu shots, from inaccuracies like you can get the flu from the vaccination to the erroneous belief that you don’t need one every year. These common side effects of flu shots are mild and short-lived and will likely go away on their own.
Flu vaccines have been in use in the United States for over 50 years with little to no danger. The vaccines contain inactive flu cells that cannot cause the flu, one legitimate area of concern is administering the shot to someone with a cold or other ailment. While there is no fear of serious harm, it is always best practice to wait until any cold symptoms have dissipated prior to receiving your shot. Children and the elderly are encouraged to receive the vaccine as the flu can be the most harmful to them.
Common side effects include a rash, redness, or other skin distress at the site of the injection which will typically recede within hours of receiving the shot. Headaches are also common, and again this discomfort will not last long, especially when treated with any common pain reliever. If you have a tendency to faint when giving blood or receiving shots, be sure to advise the practitioner of this information. While fainting is not common, it can occur in patients that have a propensity for that reaction.
Fever can also occur, as can muscle aches and nausea. If you are receiving the vaccination for the first time it is always a good idea to allow yourself some time to rest after getting the shot. In very rare circumstances there have been cases of the flu vaccine causing Guillan-Barre Syndrome. In reality, there have been one to two cases per 1 million people inoculated, but there are also studies that show no correlation. The nasal vaccine has no connection to causing GBS and is an effective option if this topic is of concern to you.
Flu vaccines are your best defense against getting sick each winter, and patients that suffer from chronic diseases are strongly urged to receive a flu shot. If you have concerns over the safety of the shot, your doctor can provide additional reassurance beyond the facts and figures that the CDC releases each year. No one wants to be bed-ridden with the flu, and the vaccine, with its limited side effects, is an effective way to prevent unnecessary illness. The shot is not a guarantee that you will not suffer any illness during the winter months, but it is your best chance to guard against them.