This medication is used to prevent infection by the influenza (flu) virus. It is also called the seasonal flu shot. Influenza can cause serious illness (rarely death), especially in young children, older adults, and people with chronic health problems. Vaccines work by helping the body produce its own protection (antibodies) against the virus.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent infection and decrease the seriousness of illness if you become infected. The brand and dose of vaccine you receive depends on your age.
As with any vaccine, it may not fully protect everyone who receives it. Since different types of flu viruses cause infection every flu season, usually a new vaccine is produced and given for each flu season.
The vaccination is usually given September through November when cases of influenza infection begin to increase (the start of "flu season"). Only one dose is needed.
Redness, soreness, swelling, or itching at the injection site may occur. Headache, muscle aches, or tiredness may also occur. Usually, side effects are mild and last one to three days. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly.
If your doctor has directed you to receive this vaccine, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) at 1-800-822-7967.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the Public Health Agency of Canada at 1-866-844-0018.
Before receiving this vaccine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to eggs or chicken products; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: current fever/illness, Guillain-Barre syndrome, immune system problems (such as due to cancer treatment, HIV infection).
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Vaccination may be given to anyone wishing to reduce the chance of getting influenza. For the best protection, the vaccine must be repeated each year since it may contain different kinds of influenza virus.
Store in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised July 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
With WebMD's Medicine Cabinet, you can check interactions with drugs.Go to medicine cabinet