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Q: What are the typical reactions to the flu shot?

A: Generally, the most common side effects from the flu shot are local symptoms around the site where the shot was given -- things like soreness, redness, or swelling. Children who get the nasal spray vaccine may have a runny nose, congestion, or cough.

After either vaccine, some children may have other symptoms, such as fever or aches. These effects are usually mild and last only one to two days.

Severe reactions are rare, but parents could look for a high fever, behavior changes, or signs of a severe allergic reaction, like trouble breathing or hives.

Q: Will the flu shot be painful for my child?

A: There is some pain but it usually goes away fast. And it’s one of the best things you can do to help prevent the flu. There are a lot of things that can impact what your experience is, so it's hard to say. For example, there can be a lot of variability depending on the technique of the person giving the shot.

Q: When is it too late in the season to get a flu vaccine?

A: The season generally begins in September or October and can run as late as May, but some seasons behave differently. Throughout the season, we recommend that people get their vaccines if they haven't already. You can never be sure, because flu is unpredictable. ... We recommend getting it as early as possible in the season, so you can establish your immune protection as early as possible.