Can the Flu Shot Make You Sick?

Consultants are anticipating an intense flu season this 12 months, as preliminary numbers from the CDC report higher than average cases of respiratory illness.

Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina specifically are exhibiting excessive ranges of flu exercise, per the CDC, and areas within the southeast and south-central U.S. are experiencing increased flu exercise than regular.

“Not everyone received flu vaccinated final 12 months, and many individuals didn’t get the flu. In order that makes us ripe to have doubtlessly a extreme flu season,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told NBC News. The flu season within the US occurs within the fall and winter, most often peaking between December and February, however the general severity of every season varies.

With an early rise in flu exercise and respiratory sickness, the CDC emphasizes getting an annual flu vaccine — ideally by the end of October — which not solely protects towards an infection, however can stop severe outcomes in those that nonetheless find yourself sick.

Sadly, vaccine fatigue from the Covid-19 pandemic and misconceptions concerning the flu shot could dissuade folks from getting their vital shot. One of the frequent causes folks postpone getting their flu shot — or worse, skip it altogether — is as a result of they assume the flu shot will make them sick and even trigger them to develop into contaminated with the flu itself. However that is a false impression. Medical doctors universally agree that neither is true and that getting the flu shot is your greatest wager for safeguarding your self and your family members throughout flu season. That being mentioned, when you cannot get the flu from the flu shot, it’s doable to get sick with one thing else across the time of your shot.

“Individuals may also get sick from different viruses across the time after they get the flu shot,” Michael Ison, MD, a professor of infectious illnesses at Northwestern College Feinberg College of Medication and a training doctor at Northwestern Medication, tells “Chilly viruses are quite common within the fall and early winter when folks get vaccinated, and you may all the time get sick from non-influenza infections.”

It is also essential to keep in mind that, whereas the flu vaccine may be very efficient, it is not foolproof. “The flu vaccine developed annually is the most effective estimate for the flu strains which are round, and in case you had been uncovered to a distinct pressure, you wouldn’t be protected,” says Carolyn Kaloostian, MD, MPH, a medical assistant professor of household medication on the College of California Keck College of Medication. Nonetheless, higher secure than sorry.

Why You Really feel Sick After the Flu Shot

In america, flu vaccines are designed to guard towards the 4 most typical flu varieties anticipated within the upcoming flu season, per the CDC, which is why they’re known as “quadrivalent vaccines.” The flu shot works by introducing inactivated (killed) flu viruses to the physique, which prompts your immune system to make antibodies. The antibodies — which develop after your shot — are specifically created to learn how to recognize the flu virus and kill it, that means in case you’re uncovered to the flu, you are a lot much less more likely to get sick.

The flu shot doesn’t provide the flu, however there are some frequent unwanted side effects. “Some folks will get a low-grade fever or some achiness within the day or so following vaccination. These are all indicators of your physique responding to the vaccine and making antibodies,” Dr. Ison says.

It takes roughly two to 3 weeks for these antibodies to kind, Dr. Kaloostian explains. If somebody will get sick after being vaccinated, it is seemingly they had been uncovered to the influenza virus earlier than the vaccine had taken impact or their physique did not develop a ample antibody response, which may happen with any vaccination, in line with Dr. Kaloostian.

In brief, the flu shot protects you from getting sick by activating your immune system and growing antibodies. Generally, it’s possible you’ll expertise unwanted side effects consequently — however it means the vaccine (and your physique!) is doing its job.

Flu Shot Aspect Results

According to the CDC, flu shot unwanted side effects are normally very delicate and go away on their very own inside a number of days. Negative effects could embrace:

  • Soreness
  • Redness or swelling on the website of the shot
  • Low-grade headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Muscle ache
  • Fatigue
  • Like with any injections, the flu shot can typically trigger fainting.

Nevertheless, some folks could also be allergic to the flu shot or have medical circumstances that may have an effect on their consideration of the shot. You must communicate along with your healthcare supplier in case you’ve had any allergic reactions prior to now to medicines or sure meals, together with an egg allergy (the CDC does list some egg-free options for the flu shot), or have Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) (a uncommon immune-system dysfunction).

The CDC experiences that severe reactions to the flu shot are very rare. Nevertheless, in case you expertise respiratory issues, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weak point, a quick heartbeat, or dizziness, these are all indicators of a severe allergic response. You must name your physician instantly and search medical consideration.

Treating Flu Shot Aspect Results

If you’re experiencing delicate unwanted side effects out of your flu shot, there are a number of at-home remedy strategies to assist with the discomfort. Keep in mind, you are allowed to child your self a bit of — or take off work if you might want to.

For headache, arm ache or tenderness, and delicate fever, the Cleveland Clinic recommends taking an over-the-counter ache reliever and fever reducers like Tylenol or Advil.

In case you’re feeling nausea or dizziness, relaxation, drink loads of fluids, and take into account clear or ice-cold drinks, per the Cleveland Clinic.

This data on this article isn’t medical recommendation. You must all the time seek the advice of your physician concerning issues pertaining to your well being and earlier than beginning any course of medical remedy.

— Extra reporting by Sara Youngblood Gregory

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