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flu like symptoms after flu shot

Flu-Like Symptoms After Flu Shot? What to Do

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms after getting your flu shot, don’t worry – you are not alone! Many people experience this after getting their vaccine. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of these symptoms and what you can do to make them go away.

  • What is the flu vaccine for?
  • Should I get the vaccine yearly?
  • What’s new with this year’s flu vaccine?
  • What are flu-like symptoms after a flu shot
  • How long do they last
  • What can you do to ease the discomfort
  • Possible causes of flu-like symptoms after a flu shot
  • When should you see a doctor
  • Can the vaccine give you the flu
  • Who should get vaccinated?

 

 

What is the flu vaccine for?

The flu vaccine is for people who want to reduce their risk of getting it. It’s not a guarantee, but it can help. Flu illness season usually peaks between December and February, so getting the vaccine as early as possible is best. Some countries have an all-year flu season, while others estimate that the flu cases increase as early as October until May.

Should I get the vaccine yearly?

Yes. Because flu viruses evolve so quickly, last year’s vaccine may not protect you from this year’s viruses. New flu vaccines are released every year to keep up with rapidly adapting flu viruses.

After getting a flu shot, your immune system produces antibodies to protect you from the viruses included in the vaccine. But antibody levels may decline over time — another reason to get your flu shots every year.

What’s new with this year’s flu vaccine?

There are many types of flu viruses – and each consistently changes. This means that every U.S. influenza vaccine is reviewed every year to prevent the currently circulating flu viruses. This year’s injectable or nasal flu vaccine is “quadrivalent,” according to the CDC, meaning they’re designed to protect against four different viruses that cause the flu.

What are flu-like symptoms after a flu shot?

flu like symptomsFlu-like symptoms after a flu shot can be caused by the vaccine itself or another virus you may have contracted. You may be experiencing any of the following symptoms as your vaccine side effects:

How long do they last?

After a seasonal flu vaccine, the symptoms you may feel should be mild and almost fleeting. They can typically last for a few days. However, if they persist or worsen, you should contact your doctor.

What can you do to ease the discomfort?

You can do a few things to help ease the discomfort of flu-like symptoms after a flu shot. These include:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, if needed
  • Stay warm
  • If your fever is high, you may need to take medication to bring it down.
  • It is also important to avoid contact with other people until you feel better.

Possible causes of flu-like symptoms after a flu shot

There are a few possible causes of flu-like symptoms after a flu shot. The vaccine itself may cause these symptoms, but you could also have contracted another virus. If your symptoms persist or get worse, you should contact your doctor.

Other viral infection

One explanation is that, in addition to flu, some people might become ill from other respiratory viruses, such as rhinoviruses, which are associated with the common cold. These viruses can induce flu-like symptoms and spread and cause sickness during flu season. Flu vaccinations only protect against the flu and its consequences; they do not protect against other infections.

Earlier exposure to the influenza virus

It is possible to be exposed to flu viruses just before being vaccinated or during the two weeks following vaccination, during which the body develops immunological protection. This exposure may cause a person to become ill with the flu before the vaccine’s protection kicks in.

A different flu virus strain

flu seasonSeveral flu viruses transmit and cause sickness in humans. Another reason why some people may suffer flu symptoms despite having been vaccinated is that they may have been exposed to a flu virus that differs greatly from the vaccine viruses.

The efficacy of flu vaccination to protect a person is primarily determined by the resemblance or “match” between the vaccine viruses used to manufacture the vaccine and the circulating viruses causing the disease.

When should you see a doctor?

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor:

  • Fever that persists for more than a few days
  • Persistently severe headache
  • Muscle aches and joint pains that do not go away after a few days
  • Chest pain and body weakness
  • Difficulty breathing (wheezing)
  • Sudden dizziness or confusion
  • Swelling around the eyes and mouth
  • Hives

Although extremely rare, it is possible to develop a severe allergic reaction to the flu shot if you experience the symptoms mentioned above.

Can the vaccine give you the flu?

Just to reiterate, flu vaccination does not cause people to acquire the flu. Injectable flu vaccinations include inactivated flu viruses that cannot induce the condition. Moreover, nasal flu vaccination includes live viruses that have been treated and cannot transmit the flu.

Who should get vaccinated?

flu vaccine effectsThe CDC advises yearly influenza vaccines for anybody over the age of six months. Vaccination is particularly necessary for persons who are at high risk of developing influenza complications, such as:

  • Women who are pregnant
  • Senior citizens
  • Infants and toddlers
  • People who have a compromised immune system

Children aged six months to 8 years may require two doses of flu vaccination, administered at least four weeks apart, the first time they receive an attenuated influenza vaccine. Following that, kids will only require a single yearly dosage of the flu vaccination. According to a research study in 2017, the flu shot or the nasal spray flu vaccine can greatly decrease a child’s chance of dying from the flu. Consult your child’s doctor for more information.

Chronic medical conditions also can increase your risk of influenza complications. Examples include:

  • Asthma
  • Cancer or cancer treatment
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Heart disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Brain or nervous system conditions
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Obesity

If you know anyone with a chronic medical condition, as stated above, please advise them that they should get the flu vaccine. Also, people living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities should get the shot.

We want to assure you that the vaccine is working for those of you who have had a flu shot and still feel like you’re getting sick. It’s not likely that your symptoms are due to the vaccination because it takes about two weeks for the antibodies in the shot to form enough protection against influenza viruses for most people, eliciting widespread disease control. If this sounds like what’s happening with you, don’t worry! Our website has more information on dealing with the flu. We have tons of resources to help make your recovery as smooth as possible. Thanks for reading!

 

References:

Misconceptions about Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/misconceptions.htm

Is it normal to feel sick after a flu shot?

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/flu-shot-yesterday-sick-today

11 Flu Shot Side Effects You Should Know for the 2021 Season, According to Doctors

https://www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/a25050076/flu-shot-side-effects/

Flu shot: Your best bet for avoiding influenza

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/in-depth/flu-shots/art-20048000

Flu Shot Side Effects That Don’t Mean You Have the Flu

https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19544378/flu-shot-side-effects/

Flu Shot: The Vaccine and Its Side Effects

https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-shot-facts

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