According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) you can’t contract the flu from a flu shot, but some people experience certain flu-like side effects. Flu shot reactions can range from nothing to worry about to allergic reactions that may require a doctor’s care.
You can prepare yourself for possible side effects by knowing what to watch for and which reactions might be cause for concern.
9. Why Your Symptoms Aren’t the Flu
Dr. Andrew Pekosz Ph.D., professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Men’s Health it’s not actually possible to catch the flu from the flu shot.
“The flu shot is a killed flu virus that consists of only half of the virus—the part you need to make an immune response to,” Dr. Pekosz said. “It’s also then administered into your arm muscle, which is not a place the flu virus normally goes to. So there is no possibility you can get the flu from the flu shot.”
8. Common Flu Shot Reactions
The following side effects are common and temporary after receiving a flu shot. They are usually nothing of concern, and are signs of the immune system doing its job.
- Soreness, discomfort, redness and swelling at the site of the flu shot
- Sore muscles
The CDC states that these symptoms are usually mild and end within a few days. They also claim that fainting occasionally occurs after receiving a flu shot, which can happen with other types of injections as well.
7. Symptoms That Might Require a Doctor’s Care
Though you don’t catch the flu from flu shots, some people do have allergic reactions to them. The following allergic reactions would likely occur pretty quickly after receiving the shot.
- Difficulty breathing
- Swollen eyes and mouth
If you’ve never had a flu shot before and have some concern about allergic reactions, be prepared for that possibility. Don’t leave the clinic where you received the shot until you’re sure you’re feeling fine. Ask the person who administers the shot what to do if you have any troubling reactions once you get home. Boost your immunity with this Zinc & Elderberry Booster.
6. Who Decides What Flu Shots Are Needed Each Year?
Seasonal flu (influenza) vaccines are recommended and manufactured based on the current types of flu strains going around. “All year long, 142 national influenza centers in 113 different countries collect data on the flu viruses impacting the world’s population,” according to a 2016 article from Scientific American.
The current flu strains making people ill are closely monitored, and past vaccinations are considered to combat these strains based on rates of success. These results are then provided to the five World Health Organization Collaborating Centers for Reference and Research on Influenza for further analysis and vaccine testing on actual flu patients.
5. What Flu Vaccines Are Available for 2020-21?
After evaluating what 2020-21 flu strains are most likely to circulate around the world, the latest vaccines are made available. Each vaccine is formulated to protect people from contracting either three or four different current flu viruses. Vaccines for three different viruses, called trivalent vaccines, are formulated to protect people from the following flu strains in 2020-21:
- A/Guangdong-Maonan/SWL1536/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
- A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
- B/Washington/02/2019 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus (updated)
Current vaccines that protect against four total flu viruses (called quadrivalent vaccines) for the 2020-21 flu season could also contain the B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus.
4. Are There Additional Side Effects from the 2020-21 Vaccinations?
Possible reactions to the 2020-21 flu vaccinations are determined based on previous uses in previous years, as well as the type of vaccine used. The flu vaccine can be given in the form of a shot or the form of a nasal mist called FluMist.
A study published in Vaccine in 2011 noted that the H1C1 vaccine caused generalized aches and pains and/or low back pain in around 23% of the healthcare workers who took it. H1C1 is also used in 2020-21 vaccines.
3. Who Can Use FluMist?
The nasal mist form of the flu vaccine (brand name FluMist) is an option for some people who don’t do well with shots. The CDC says FluMist is not recommended for young children, children with asthma, people 50 and over, pregnant women, people with a history of allergic reactions, and people with weak or compromised immune systems. For a full list of reasons you should avoid FluMist over a flu shot, check with the CDC.
2. What Are FluMist’s Side Effects?
FluMist’s side effects include:
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle soreness
- Loss of appetite
These symptoms are usually mild and only last for a day or two. If your symptoms last longer or seem severe, contact your doctor for their advice. Pick up this advanced muscle and joint supplement for aches and pains with the flu.
1. What If You Get the Flu Shot But Still Get the Flu?
Though you’re not contracting the flu from the flu vaccine, it is still possible to catch the flu after you’ve received a flu shot. Why? Because you probably caught a flu virus that the vaccine wasn’t formulated to protect against. Flu vaccines help stop widespread flu infections, but they aren’t foolproof. An unexpected flu strain could develop that current vaccines weren’t made to destroy.
It’s also possible you caught a different kind of virus, like COVID-19, that produces flu-like symptoms but isn’t the flu at all. To be sure, see your doctor for testing and treatment. Open Doors, Press Buttons & Pull Levers Without Actually Touching Them with This Ergonomic, Antimicrobial Hand Tool.Related: 7 Considerations When Gearing Up for Your Annual Flu Shot