Receiving a flu shot can help reduce the chance of contracting the flu, as well as decrease the likelihood of spreading it to other people. The flu vaccine is recommended to be taken once annually for all people ages 6 months and older. The flu vaccine can cause some side effects, ranging from mild to major.
Side effects of the flu shot are typically mild in nature and usually dissipate after several days. The most common side effects people experience after receiving the flu shot include:
- Muscle aches and pain
- Soreness, swelling, or redness at the injection site
The flu shot has also caused fainting and loss of consciousness in some individuals. There is also evidence that the flu shot can cause Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Development of Guillain-Barré Syndrome due to the flu shot is rare, but has occurred.
There have been reports that major side effects occur following the flu shot. Major symptoms and side effects of the flu shot include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling around the lips or eyes
- Skin appearing pale
- Rapid heart beat
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Reactions to the flu shot are typically not life threatening, but can be. The major symptoms listed above typically occur fairly soon after receiving the flu shot.
If you are concerned that you are having an allergic reaction that is severe following taking the flu shot, you should call 911 and visit the nearest hospital as soon as possible. If you are experiencing symptoms that are major, but not life threatening, contact your doctor. If you do experience an allergic reaction to the flu shot, make sure to contact the incident to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. If you have been injured by the flu vaccination, you may be awarded compensation from the government in order to cover any hospital costs or injuries that were incurred. If you feel that you are eligible to receive compensation due to injuries sustained due to the flu vaccine, contact the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
Keep in mind that some individuals should not receive the flu shot. Children who are younger than six months old can should not receive the flu shot. Other individuals who should not receive the flu shot include people who have severe allergies to ingredients contained in the flu vaccine. Other individuals who should use caution when taking the vaccine include those who have an egg allergy, individuals who have a diagnosis of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, or individuals who are ill. Individuals who have a severe allergy to eggs must be monitored when receiving the flu vaccine. Appropriate monitoring of those with egg allergies includes remaining in the care of a doctor who is experienced in recognizing the signs of a severe allergic reaction. Individuals who are pregnant are able to receive the flu shot and are encouraged to do so in order to protect their unborn fetus.
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