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Seasonal Flu Shot and Nasal Spray


Who Should Get a Seasonal Flu Vaccine?

The seasonal flu vaccine is recommended for all children age 6 months and older and for teens.

It's also recommended for adults considered to be at higher risk of complications. That includes:

  • People with chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, heart disease, lung disease, and a weakened immune system, such as from HIV/AIDS or as a result of therapy.
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents of nursing homes and other facilities where people have chronic medical conditions
  • Health care workers
  • People planning to travel to the tropics at any time and people who were not vaccinated but are going to the Southern Hemisphere from April through September
  • People ages 50 years and older. There are now high-dose vaccines made specifically for older people and their immune systems.
  • Caregivers and household contacts of anyone in a high-risk group

The vaccine is also recommended for anyone else who wants to be protected against this year's flu.

If a child is between 6 months and 8 years and is being vaccinated against flu for the first time (or was vaccinated for the first time during the previous flu season but only got one dose) he or she should get two doses, separated by at least four weeks.

Are There Some People Who Should Not Get a Flu Vaccine?

People who should not get a flu shot include:

  • Infants under age 6 months
  • Anyone who has had a severe reaction to a past flu shot or nasal spray
  • Someone with Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • People with moderate to severe illness with a fever; they should be vaccinated after they have recovered.

It's long been advised that people with allergies to eggs should not get the flu shot. However, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says the vaccine contains such a low amount of egg protein that it's unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in those with an egg allergy. If you have a severe egg allergy (anaphylaxis), talk to your doctor before getting the flu vaccine. Also, flu vaccines that do not contain eggs are available.

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