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Flu Shot: Influenza Vaccine and Side Effects

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Who should talk to their doctors before getting a flu shot?

According to the CDC, you should talk to your doctor before getting a flu shot or influenza vaccine if:

  • You have had an allergic reaction to a flu shot in the past
  • You have previously had Guillain-Barre syndrome that occurred after receiving the influenza vaccine; Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the nervous system.
  • You are ill; if you have a fever, talk to your health care provider about getting the shot later. If you have a mild illness with no fever, it's OK to get a flu shot.

It's long been advised that people with allergies to eggs should not get the flu shot. However, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and 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, as mentioned above, flu vaccines that do not contain eggs are available.

What are some flu shot side effects?

You can experience low-grade fever and aching after getting any flu vaccine. After getting a flu shot some people can also experience soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given.

Serious side effects from the flu vaccine are very rare. If they do occur, it's within a few minutes to a few hours after getting the shot.

It is important to note that the benefits of getting a flu shot far outweigh the risk of flu shot side effects.

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