Until this year, you had two choices to protect yourself against the flu: a shot or a nasal spray mist called FluMist. But CDC health officials say the nasal spray shouldn't be used in the 2016-2017 flu season because recent studies show it's not effective in preventing the flu.
The Flu Shot
This vaccine is usually injected into your upper arm. It's made from dead influenza viruses and can't give you the flu.
Side effects: Usually minor and only last a day or two. The most common one is soreness in the arm. Less-common symptoms are mild fever and achiness.
Who can get the flu shot: Adults and children ages 6 months and up
Who shouldn't get the flu shot:
- Babies less than 6 months old
- People with life-threatening allergies to any ingredient in the vaccine
Talk to your doctor before you get a flu shot if you don't feel well or you have a condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome.
You may have heard that people with allergies to eggs shouldn't get the shot. But the CDC has new guidelines. Today's vaccine has less egg protein than in the past, so most people with egg allergies can safely get any flu vaccine that's appropriate for their health and age.
If you or your child gets hives after eating eggs, it's still safe to get a flu shot. But if you ever had a severe reaction to eggs or if you needed emergency treatment, you should get the flu shot from a doctor -- either at his office, a hospital, a clinic, or a health department. A severe reaction includes things like trouble breathing, swelling, light-headedness, or vomiting.
Other flu-shot options are:
Intradermal shots. These use a much smaller needle. It goes into the top layer of your skin instead of down into the muscle. It may be a good option for someone who doesn't like needles. It's available for those between the ages of 18 and 64.
High-dose flu shots. These vaccines can better protect people with weakened immune systems. They're recommended for those ages 65 and older.
If you don't feel well, you should talk to your doctor about delaying your shot until you feel better.