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    The Flu Vaccine: Get the Facts

    Types of Flu Vaccine

    There are many. Ask your doctor which one will work best for you.

    The standard flu vaccine protects you from three different flu viruses. You get this shot in your muscle. If you don’t like needles, your doctor may be able to use a jet injector to give it to you. It’s a high-pressure tool that squirts the medicine into your skin. If you’re age 65 or older, you can get a high-dose flu vaccine. It’s four times stronger than the regular flu shot. Ask your doctor if they have it.

    Another type of flu vaccine protects against four different viruses. You can get it as a shot. Some years, the vaccine is also available as a nasal spray. The intradermal flu shot is a very small needle that goes into your skin. You can get this if you’re between ages 18 and 64.

    Ask your doctor which vaccine is best for you.

    Does It Work?

    The flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent the flu. It takes about 2 weeks for it to protect you. 

    There’s still a chance you could get the flu after you get vaccinated. That depends on many things, like your age and how healthy you are. It also depends on how closely the vaccine matches the type of flu that is going around. Even if you do get sick, there’s a good chance your illness will be milder. 

    Can I Get the Flu From the Flu Vaccine?

    Forget what you might have heard. You can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine. But you may have side effects that mimic cold or flu symptoms. Some of these are:

    • Soreness or swelling where you got the shot
    • Aching
    • Nausea
    • Slight fever

    The nasal spray vaccine can also cause runny nose, headache, vomiting, fever, wheezing, and muscle aches.

    Call 911 if you have any of the following symptoms after you get a flu vaccine. They can be a sign of a severe reaction:

    • High fever
    • Hoarseness
    • Weakness
    • Paleness
    • Dizziness
    • Racing heart
    • Trouble breathing
    • Hives
    • Swelling around the lips or eyes
    • Changes in behavior

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on November 04, 2021
    1 | 2

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