Concerns About Side Effects
If the side effects following immunisation are unexpected, persistent, or severe, or if you are worried about yourself or your childâs condition after a vaccination, see your doctor or immunisation nurse as soon as possible or go directly to a hospital.
Immunisation side effects may be reported to SAEFVIC, the central vaccine reporting service in Victoria on .
You can discuss how to report problems in other states or territories with your immunisation provider.
What To Know About Flu Shot Side Effects
Vaccines prompt an immune response that can give some people some mild, completely normal side effects. Here’s what to expect.
Mercey Livingston is a health and wellness writer and certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She’s written about fitness and wellness for Well+Good, Women’s Health, Business Insider, and Prevention.com among others. When not writing, she enjoys reading and trying out workout classes all over New York City.
We might be in for a rough flu season this year in the US, if expert predictions are correct. But the good news is, we have very safe and effective tools for fighting and preventing the flu, caused by the potentially deadly influenza virus, including the flu vaccine.
According to the CDC, flu shots are safe and one of the best ways to keep from getting the flu and spreading it to others. And people who get vaccinated and get sick anyway often experience less severe symptoms. If you’re thinking of getting vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu, the CDC says it is safe to get both vaccines together .
The simple fact is, flu vaccines can save lives. There are plenty of myths out there about the flu vaccine, such as the idea that it can give you the flu. While that’s not true, you can experience some side effects from the flu shot. The side effects are usually mild and nothing to worry about, but it’s important to know about them so you’re not worried when you get your vaccine.
Flu Shot Side Effects Diarrhea
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What’s Flu Activity Like This Season
In general, flu activity in the U.S. began to trend upward in late October and through December, the CDC reported.
That’s exactly what scientists had predicted that this year’s flu activity would eventually spike.After the country experienced historically low levels of flu during the 2020-2021 season , several studies have predicted that the flu could come roaring back this fall and winter, Live Science previously reported.
That’s because the U.S. population “missed the opportunity to establish or boost their immunity ” last season, which raises the concern that the flu could make a comeback as preventive measures for COVID-19 are lifted, according to the authors of a recent study on predicting flu activity, posted Aug. 30 to the preprint database medRxiv .
In October, the CDC began an investigation at the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus, where there was a sudden spike in flu cases, Live Science previously reported. Most of these infections were caused by an H3N2 flu virus. This trend has since cropped up in data from across the U.S., as H3N2 appears to be the dominant strain circulating countrywide.
Even if flu activity is currently low in your community, you shouldn’t wait to get your flu shot. Flu activity could begin to increase at any time, and it takes about two weeks for people to develop antibodies against flu viruses after receiving their shot, the CDC says.
Is It The Flu A Cold Or Covid
The common cold, flu, and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. They can all cause similar symptoms. If you have symptoms, a health care provider can determine the cause of your illness and help you take steps to feel better.
A cold is often milder than the flu. The flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, but COVID-19 spreads more easily and symptoms tend to be more severe. It’s also more common to have a change in your sense of smell or taste with COVID-19.
People with the flu can have fever, chills, dry cough, general aches and pains, and a headache. They feel very tired. Sore throat, sneezing, stuffy nose, or stomach problems are less common. What some people call “stomach flu” is not influenza. Learn more about the differences between the flu and a cold and flu and COVID-19.
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How To Treat Flu Vaccine Side Effects If Youre Really Struggling
Although side effects shouldnt last long, theres no shame in wanting to minimize your pain. To deal with any aches or a fever, you can try an OTC pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, according to the Mayo Clinic. If your arm is really sore, consider icing it to help with inflammation. Getting plenty of sleep, loading up on water, and generally trying to take it easy until you feel a bit better is always a good idea, too.
And if you have any questions about the flu vaccineif and when you should get your flu shot or nasal spray vaccine, if you should be worried about side effects, concerns about allergies, or anything elsedont hesitate to talk it over with a health care professional. Theyre there to help you make the process as seamless as possible.
Additional reporting by Korin Miller
Side Effects Not Requiring Immediate Medical Attention
Some side effects of influenza virus vaccine, inactivated may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- pain at the injection site
- redness or swelling at the injection site
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When To Get The Influenza Vaccine
Yearly vaccination before the onset of each flu season is recommended. In most parts of Australia, flu season occurs from June to September, with the flu vaccine typically available from April.
Recent evidence suggests optimal protection against the flu occurs within the first 3-4 months following vaccination. It is important to note that, while the influenza virus continues to circulate, it is never too late to vaccinate.
Redness Pain Or Swelling At The Injection Site
This is another good sign that your immune system is raring to go and responding to the vaccine properly, Dr. Kemmerly says. Plus, any time something breaks the skin barrier , it may get red and swollen as your body reacts to it as a foreign object. This side effects is common and should only last a few days.
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Side Effects Requiring Immediate Medical Attention
Along with its needed effects, influenza virus vaccine, inactivated may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking influenza virus vaccine, inactivated:
- blood in the urine or stools
- hives, itching, or rash
- inability to move the arms and legs
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- sudden numbness and weakness in the arms and legs
- tightness in the chest
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Why Is The Flu Vaccine Recommended
While the flu vaccine isn’t 100% effective, it still greatly lowers a person’s chances of catching the flu, which can be very serious. It also can make symptoms less severe if someone who got the vaccine does still get the flu.
If you got the flu vaccine last year, it can’t provide enough protection this year, because flu viruses change. That’s why the vaccine is updated each year to include the most current types of the virus.
Sometimes the same virus types are included in the vaccine from one year to the next. Even then, it’s still important to get the yearly flu vaccine because the body’s immunity against the influenza virus declines over time.
Getting the flu vaccine not only protects you from the flu. It also helps protect the people and community around you. The flu vaccine makes someone less likely to get the flu, and therefore less likely to spread the flu. Getting the flu vaccine is a great way to protect people who are at risk from flu, such as the elderly, babies, and people with health conditions such as asthma. Every year thousands of people die from influenza, and getting the flu vaccine is one way to help prevent that.
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Redness Or Swelling At The Injection Site
Anytime you pierce the skin and put something into the body it can cause a topical reaction, says Dr. Adalja. This is just a sign that your immune system is activating.
But this redness and swelling where you get your shot is a common side effect that only typically lasts a few days. Itll go away on its own, but if its really bugging you, you can take ibuprofen or acetominophen .
Are Severe Side Effects Possible
It’s unusual to have serious side effects from the flu shot. Life-threatening anaphylactic reactions are also rare, and “the new vaccines are actually very safe for those with egg allergies,” says Dr. Dodd. Symptoms of an allergic reaction show up within minutes to hours, according to the CDC, and they include breathing trouble, weakness, fast heart rate, dizziness, hives, sweating, hoarseness, and paleness. Find emergency assistance immediately if you suspect an allergic reaction from the flu vaccine.
What’s more, the flu shot may have a small association with a rare disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome , in which the immune system attacks your nerves. Some studies found that GBS occurs fewer than 1 or 2 times out of every one million vaccinations others didn’t find any link, says the CDC. It’s important to note, though, that GBS may also occur after getting the flu. In fact, “you have a greater chance of getting GBS from influenza than by the vaccine itself,” says Dr. Dodd, adding that it’s still highly unlikely.
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How Effective Is The Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine
The nasal spray flu vaccine gives children the best protection against flu. The injected flu vaccine is a good alternative if the nasal spray vaccine cannot be used.
It may take around 2 weeks for the flu vaccine to work.
Any child who catches flu after vaccination is less likely to be seriously ill or be admitted to hospital.
How Much Does Getting A Flu Vaccine Cost
Most people can get a flu vaccine for little to no out-of-pocket cost. Medicare and most private health insurance plans will cover the cost of your flu vaccine. However, some insurance plans require that you receive your vaccine at a specific location. Check with your insurance company. If you do not have health insurance, contact your local or state health department.
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Pregnancy And Influenza Immunisation
Pregnant women are at increased risk of complications from the flu. The flu vaccine is strongly recommended and safe for pregnant women at any time during pregnancy. It can also be safely given while breastfeeding.
Flu vaccination of pregnant women also protects infants against the flu for the first 6 months after birth due to transplacental transfer of antibodies from the vaccinated woman to the unborn baby.
Why Do Some People Not Feel Well After Getting A Flu Shot
Flu vaccine side effects are generally mild and go away on their own within a few days. Some side effects that may occur from a flu shot include soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was given, headache , fever, nausea, muscle aches, and fatigue. The flu shot, like other injections, can occasionally cause fainting.
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Flu Shot Side Effects For Children And Toddlers
The flu shot is made with an inactivated flu virus, so it can’t give you influenza, says Daisy Dodd, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease doctor for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. Even so, people can have minor side effects after receiving the shot. Child and toddler flu shot side effects include:
- Soreness, redness, or discomfort in the injection site. This localized reaction is the most common side effect, says Dr. Ahmed.
- Headache. “This can usually be alleviated by taking pain medication like Tylenol, but in my opinion, it’s very minor,” says Dr. Dodd.
- Fainting in rare cases
These side effects generally last between one and two days. “The most common reactions people have to flu vaccines are considerably less severe than the symptoms caused by actual flu illness,” stresses the CDC.
Side Effects Of The Children’s Flu Vaccine
Flu vaccines are very safe.
Side effects of the nasal spray flu vaccine are mild and do not last long. They include:
- a runny or blocked nose
- loss of appetite
For the injected flu vaccine, most side effects are also mild and do not last long. They include:
- a sore arm where the injection was given
- a slightly raised temperature
These side effects usually last for 1 or 2 days.
It’s rare for anyone to have a serious allergic reaction to the flu vaccine. If they do, it usually happens within minutes.
The person who vaccinates you or your child will be trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.
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How Can I Avoid Getting The Flu
Seasonal influenza is most often caused by type Aor B influenza viruses. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and a runnynose. The cough can be severe and can last 2 or more weeks. Most peoplerecover from fever and other symptoms within a week without requiringmedical attention. However, influenza can cause severe illness or deathin high-risk groups .
Seasonal epidemics occur mainly during winter, from October toMarch in the northern hemisphere and April to September in the southernhemisphere. In tropical and subtropical countries, seasonal influenzacan happen all year round.
The best way to avoid getting the flu is to get the fluvaccine every year. Influenza viruses evolve constantly, and twice ayear WHO makes recommendations to update the vaccine compositions. Forthe 2016-2017 northern hemisphere influenza season, the vaccineformulation was updated in February 2016 to contain two type A viruses, and a type B virus.
WHO recommends annual vaccination for high-risk groupsincluding health care workers. People should ideally get vaccinated justbefore the influenza season begins for the most effective coverage,although getting vaccinated at any time during the influenza season canstill help prevent flu infections.
Possible Side Effects From Vaccines
Any vaccine can cause side effects. For the most part these are minor and go away within a few days. Listed below are vaccines licensed in the United States and side effects that have been associated with each of them. This information is copied directly from CDCs Vaccine Information Statements , which in turn are derived from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations for each vaccine.
Remember, vaccines are continually monitored for safety, and like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. However, a decision not to immunize a child also involves risk and could put the child and others who come into contact with him or her at risk of contracting a potentially deadly disease.
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How Much Does It Cost And Where Can I Get It
Most insurers cover the cost of flu vaccines as part of preventive care. People who are 65 or older enrolled in Medicare Part B plans and most people on Medicaid can also receive their annual flu shots at no personal cost. And those without any insurance can access free or low-cost flu shots through state health departments, employer vouchers or federal initiatives like the Vaccines for Children Program.
You can use the C.D.C.s vaccine portal to find clinics, pharmacies and other locations that offer flu vaccines near you.
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
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.
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