Influenza Vaccine (Flu Shot and Nasal Spray) for Adults
Which Adults Should Not Get the Flu Vaccine? continued...
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, a flu vaccine that is not made with the use of eggs is available. The vaccine, called Flublok, is approved for use in those 18 to 49 years old.
The nasal spray flu vaccine can only be used in healthy, younger adults who are not pregnant. In addition to the previously listed adults who should not receive the flu shot, adults should NOT get the nasal spray influenza vaccine if they:
- Are pregnant
- Are age 50 or older
- Have a weakened immune system due to disease or certain medical treatments
- Have a long-term health condition, such as those with diabetes, kidney disease, or heart or lung disease, including asthma
- Have a muscle or nerve condition that can cause problems with breathing or swallowing (such as epilepsy or cerebral palsy)
- Have a nasal condition that could make breathing difficult
You should not get the nasal spray flu vaccine if you are in contact with people who have a severely weakened immune system.
If you are moderately to severely ill, your doctor may recommend waiting to get the shot until after you recover. The CDC says you can still get the vaccine if you have a mild illness, such as a cold or low-grade fever.
If you have a stuffy nose, your doctor may recommend that you wait to get the nasal spray flu vaccine, or get the flu shot instead.
Side Effects and Risks for Adult Flu Vaccines
Like all medications, vaccines can have side effects. But the risk of harm or death from the influenza vaccine is rare.
The flu shot and nasal spray can cause different types of side effects.
Flu shot side effects may include:
- Low fever
- Muscle aches
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
The nasal spray flu vaccine for adults may cause:
- Headache, muscle aches
- Runny nose, nasal congestion
- Sore throat
Rarely, someone may have a severe allergic reaction to an ingredient in the vaccine. Most of the time, such reactions occur within a few minutes to a few hours of receiving the vaccine. The following can be signs of a severe allergic reaction:
- Behavior changes
- Breathing difficulty, including wheezing
- Hoarse voice
- High fever
- Pale skin
- Rapid heart beat
Seek immediate medical care if you notice any of these signs after receiving the influenza vaccine.