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Common flu shots are side effects that are completely normal



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The flu can cause some side effects that are usually normal.

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Face masks, Handwash, social distancing and avoiding gatherings are all necessary to fight and quit Covid-19 pandemic. This year, the health authorities are asking everyone to get one flu shot to avoid a “twindemic” and the potential stress it can add to an already taxed healthcare system.

According to the CDC, flu shots are safe and one of the best ways to prevent getting and spreading the flu to others. And for people who are vaccinated and become ill, they often experience less severe symptoms.

No matter how you look at it – flu vaccines can save lives. There is plenty of myths out there about the flu vaccine – one is that it can give you the flu. Even if it is not true, you may experience some side effects from the flu shot. The side effects are usually mild and nothing to worry about, but it is important to know about them so that you are not worried when you get your vaccine.

Below, Dr. Carmen Teague, Chief Medical Officer of Atrium Health’s Mecklenburg Medical Group What you need to know about common flu-like side effects that are normal and which side effects may be a sign of something more serious.

Common flu side effects

The flu vaccine does not give you the flu, but you may experience mild symptoms due to the way the vaccine works.

“The flu vaccine is designed to stimulate your immune system to build antibodies to the virus. That stimulation can cause low fever, decreased appetite, loose stools, mild fatigue or myalgia (muscle aches) and even a small cough,” says Dr. Teague.

According to Dr. Teague usually resolves these symptoms after a few days and is no cause for concern. You may also experience redness, swelling or tenderness where the shot was injected, which is also normal.

The CDC says you may experience “flu-like” symptoms after receiving the vaccine, for example:

  • Tenderness, redness and / or swelling at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches

The symptoms listed above should resolve in a few days. Also keep in mind that not everyone has symptoms, but they are the most common. For other symptoms or symptoms that last longer, it is important to remember that you may still get a cold or other virus, right after you get the flu.

So if you experience other symptoms that act like the flu, it could be another illness and that does not mean the shot made you sick. It also takes about two weeks before the flu shot becomes effective in protecting you from the flu, so you can technically catch the flu within that two-week window.

Signs of a more serious (but rare) reaction

“A very small percentage of people may have a real allergic reaction to the vaccine, including tightness of the chest, difficulty breathing, wheezing, swelling of the face or throat and redness of the eyes,” says Dr. Teague. If you experience these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately. Dr Teague says that severe allergic reactions usually occur within a few hours after the flu has been shot.

Signs of a severe allergic reaction, according to CDC may include:

  • Hard to breathe
  • Hoarseness or wheezing
  • Swelling around the eyes or lips
  • Hives
  • Pallor
  • Weakness
  • A rapid heartbeat or dizziness

Another possible reaction is an infection where the shot was administered. “Patients may also develop an injection site infection that manifests as worsening redness, swelling, heat and tenderness,” says Dr. Teague. You should also seek immediate medical attention for this type of reaction.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health problem.


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