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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Flu Shot: The Vaccine and Its Side Effects

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Are There Side Effects?

Yes. You might have a mild fever and feel tired or achy after you get the shot. Some people also have soreness, redness, or swelling where the needle went in. These problems aren’t serious and won’t last long.

Serious side effects are rare. If you do get them, it should be within a few minutes to a few hours after you get the shot. Call your doctor right away if you have trouble breathing, hives, feel weak or dizzy, or have a fast heartbeat after you get it.

Side effects in children can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever

Side effects in adults can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

Who Can Get the Nasal Spray?

FluMist is only for healthy people ages 2 to 49. The CDC says healthy children 2 through 8 years old can get it. But if it’s not available, kids should get the traditional flu shot rather than wait.

The nasal spray vaccine contains weakened strains of live viruses. These people shouldn’t take it:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children under age 5 who have wheezing that comes and goes
  • Children and teens who take aspirin
  • People with a medical condition that puts them at high risk for problems that come with the flu, including those with long-lasting heart or lung disease (like asthma), diabetes, kidney disease, or a weakened immune system

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on November 12, 2015
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