Influenza (Flu) Vaccine

Influenza is a contagious virus spread by sneezing, nasal secretions, and coughing. Infection is highest among children, and usually the symptoms last only a few days. However, infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with pre-existing conditions such as heart, kidney, lung or immune disorders, can become much more ill than children.

Symptoms include fever, sore throat, coughing, headache, muscle ache, chills, and fatigue. For those who are more susceptible to illness, high fever, pneumonia, diarrhea, and seizures can occur. If left untreated, influenza can even cause death. Every year thousands of people die as a result of seasonal influenza virus.

Two Types Of Influenza Vaccines

Depending on which type of flu vaccine you get, there are different side effects that you need to consider. The first type is called inactivated, or killed. This is the most common flu vaccination. The second type is live.  This vaccine is available in a spray that is inhaled through the nose by patients.

  • Inactivated: this is a dead form of the influenza virus that is injected into the muscle. This is the type of vaccine most people are familiar with.
  • Live, attenuated: this is a weakened form of the influenza virus that comes in a nasal spray.

High dose vaccines are also available for people age 65 and older. More information on this vaccine can be obtained from your health care provider. Because the influenza virus is constantly changing, a yearly vaccination is recommended to fully protect against each new strain.

Flu Vaccine Guillain Barre

Vaccines are a form of medication, and as such carries risks that range from mild to severe, including soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site; sore, red or itchy eyes; coughing; hoarseness; fever; aches; or allergic reaction to the vaccine. There have been rare cases of flu vaccine Guillain Barre Syndrome, or GBS. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. You can also contact our vaccine injury lawyers and Get Help Now!

All people 6 months of age or older should have the influenza vaccine each year. Most influenza occurs between November and May, however vaccines are available at all times of the year. Adults and children older than 9 usually only need one dose, however children under 9 years old can need two doses for the vaccine to be effective.

In rare occasions, people have experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction to the vaccination, which can occur within a few minutes of receiving the vaccine to a few hours afterward. It is important that someone seek medical attention immediately upon feeling or seeing symptoms of a reaction.

Desiree Jennings, a Washington Redskins cheerleader preparing for a half marathon had her seasonal flu shot on a typical day in Aug. and then almost two weeks later, she started feeling flu symptoms and started passing out and eventually suffered seizures. It was discovered that she had a severe reaction to the flu vaccination and developed dystonia, a rare neurological disorder. Today, Desiree is learning to live with a disability that will never go away.

Once administered, the vaccination takes approximately two full weeks to build up the protection the body needs against the flu and the protection can last one year.

Do not get the influenza vaccine if you have or have ever had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine, or if you have a severe egg allergy. People who have ever had GBS should also not get the influenza vaccine. If you are currently ill, talk to your doctor before receiving the influenza vaccine.

If your child is under 8 years old, do not administer the influenza vaccine brand Afluria, as it has been linked to fevers and fever-related seizures in Australia. For more information, talk to your health care provider.


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