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Can getting a flu shot weaken your immune system and make you more likely to get the flu?

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Getting a flu shot does not weaken your immune system and make you more likely to get the flu.

Getting a flu vaccine prepares your immune system for the flu.

A flu vaccine teaches your immune system to recognize that virus as a threat. While some people may still get the flu after having a flu shot, they'll probably have a milder form of the illness. That's because antibodies made in response to the vaccine can still provide some protection.

Some people may mistake the occasional, short-lived side effects of the vaccine (slight fever, aches) for flu symptoms. And the time of year people are most likely to get the vaccine is when colds and other respiratory illnesses are common. If you get the vaccine and then get sick with an unrelated bug, you may assume, incorrectly, that the vaccine caused the illness.

SOURCES:

Glasser, R. , March 2005. Nature Reviews: Immunology

WebMD Feature: "Top 12 Flu Myths."

WebMD Medical Reference in Collaboration with Cleveland Clinic: "Allergy Shots."

WebMD Health News: "Cautious Optimism Over Cancer Vaccine."

Brigham and Women's Hospital: "Drinking Tea May Boost Immune System."

FamilyDoctor.org: "When Your Infant or Child Has a Fever."

The Cleveland Clinic: "Diet, Exercise, Stress and the Immune System."

Harvard Health Report: "The Truth About Your Immune System."

Rowe, C. , October 2007. Journal of the American College of Nutrition

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on January 15, 2020

SOURCES:

Glasser, R. , March 2005. Nature Reviews: Immunology

WebMD Feature: "Top 12 Flu Myths."

WebMD Medical Reference in Collaboration with Cleveland Clinic: "Allergy Shots."

WebMD Health News: "Cautious Optimism Over Cancer Vaccine."

Brigham and Women's Hospital: "Drinking Tea May Boost Immune System."

FamilyDoctor.org: "When Your Infant or Child Has a Fever."

The Cleveland Clinic: "Diet, Exercise, Stress and the Immune System."

Harvard Health Report: "The Truth About Your Immune System."

Rowe, C. , October 2007. Journal of the American College of Nutrition

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on January 15, 2020

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