Are there side effects from the seasonal flu shot?

Some people hesitate to get vaccinated against seasonal influenza, because they worry the flu shot isn’t safe, or they’re concerned that it’s ineffective. Fortunately, neither is true. Each year, research scientists spend long hours identifying the most threatening flu strains for the upcoming season, and producing vaccines to protect the population from outbreaks. Before any vaccine is made available to patients, it is exhaustively tested for safety and effectiveness. If you still have concerns about getting vaccinated, you can put your trust in the compassionate physicians and nurses at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

Minor side effects
Most people who receive the flu shot don’t experience any problems, and they enjoy protection from potentially serious flu viruses all season long. When side effects do occur, they are almost always mild, and they resolve quickly. These side effects can include:

  • Minor soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • Low-grade fever
  • Nausea
  • Aches

Rare, but serious side effects
It’s possible, although rare, for a patient to experience a more serious side effect after getting a flu shot . These uncommon side effects can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High-grade fever
  • Hives
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing

Patients are advised to seek emergency care if any of these problems develop.

High-risk patients
Certain people might not be able to get vaccinated, due to medical reasons. Talk to your doctor about whether the flu shot is safe for you if any of the following apply:

  • Life-threatening allergy to chicken eggs
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Current, severe illness with a fever
  • Past severe reaction to the flu shot

If the nasal spray is being offered during a flu season, certain people are advised to get the shot instead. These include children who are 24 months of age or younger. Children with asthma or a history of wheezing should also receive the injection instead of the nasal mist.

Your doctor will likely advise you to get the injection instead of the spray if you:

  • Have a suppressed immune system
  • Have received any other vaccines in the past month
  • Are pregnant
  • Are aged 50 or older
  • Have a chronic medical condition
  • Frequently come into contact with people with weakened immune systems

The doctors and nurses at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center are your partners in health. We always welcome questions from our patients in Las Vegas about vaccinations, because preventive care matters to us. For general healthcare information, or to request a physician referral, call a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300.

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