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Can flu shots cause the flu?

ANSWER

The flu shot is made from dead viruses and cannot "give" you the flu. However, the vaccine can trigger an immune response from your body, so you may have a few mild symptoms, like achy muscles or a low-grade fever.

The nasal flu vaccine, FluMist, is made with a weakened live flu virus. It also cannot give you the flu, but is more likely to cause symptoms such as achy muscles or a low fever. It's recommended as an option only for non-pregnant, healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49.

From: Top 10 Questions About the Flu WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

CDC: "Q&A: Cold Vs. Flu."

CDC: "Q&A: Preventing the Flu."

CDC: "Q&A: Seasonal Flu Vaccine."

Jefferson, T. , Feb. 26, 2005. The Lancet

William Schaffner, MD, chairman, preventive medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.

Tracy Wimbush, MD, emergency room specialist, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

WebMD Medical Reference: "Answers About Home Remedies for Cold and Flu."

WebMD Medical Reference: "Answers to Common Questions About Cold and Flu."

WebMD Feature: "Call in Sick or Go to Work?"

WebMD Medical Reference: "When Should I See a Doctor for a Cold or the Flu?"

WebMD Medical Reference: "12 Tips to Prevent Cold and Flu the 'Natural' Way."

WebMD Medical Reference: "Kids' Cold Medicines: New Guidelines."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on January 2, 2019

SOURCES:

CDC: "Q&A: Cold Vs. Flu."

CDC: "Q&A: Preventing the Flu."

CDC: "Q&A: Seasonal Flu Vaccine."

Jefferson, T. , Feb. 26, 2005. The Lancet

William Schaffner, MD, chairman, preventive medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.

Tracy Wimbush, MD, emergency room specialist, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

WebMD Medical Reference: "Answers About Home Remedies for Cold and Flu."

WebMD Medical Reference: "Answers to Common Questions About Cold and Flu."

WebMD Feature: "Call in Sick or Go to Work?"

WebMD Medical Reference: "When Should I See a Doctor for a Cold or the Flu?"

WebMD Medical Reference: "12 Tips to Prevent Cold and Flu the 'Natural' Way."

WebMD Medical Reference: "Kids' Cold Medicines: New Guidelines."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on January 2, 2019

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How are flu and cold viruses transmitted?

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