What are the common side effects after a flu shot?

A flu shot is a vaccine administered in order to prevent infection caused by the influenza virus. It is important to note that influenza can easily spread via person-to-person contact. The flu shot is highly recommended at the start or during the flu season which runs from September up to the winter months.

Children over 6 months of age, elderly, pregnant women and those who are immunocompromised are highly recommended to get a flu shot on a yearly basis. Nevertheless, there are certain side effects after receiving a flu shot that you should be familiar with. If you want to be prepared to handle these side effects, read here.

Reactions at the injection site

The common side effect after receiving a flu shot is a complication at the site of injection. The individual can experience soreness, redness or swelling at the site where the flu shot was administered. In most cases, the individual will feel a small-sized, hard bump at the affected location.

Flu shot

The individual can also suffer from fever, chills and muscle ache right after receiving a flu shot.

In some cases, minimal bruising can occur. Take note that these side effects must subside within several days after the vaccination was given. You can apply a cold compress over the injection site to help reduce the swelling. In case an infant was vaccinated, you have to make sure that you will avoid placing any pressure on the affected area while holding the child.

Fever, chills and muscle ache

The individual can also suffer from fever, chills and muscle ache right after receiving a flu shot. Only a small percentage of individuals develop these symptoms that can last for 1-2 days right after vaccination. A doctor should be consulted if an over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen can be used to relieve the fever and muscle ache. In case these side effects do not seem to subside, a doctor must be consulted.

Hoarseness, cough and itchy eyes

The hoarseness of the voice along with cough and irritated eyes can also occur after vaccination. Take note that these side effects might not occur right after vaccination and can last for several days. Throat sprays and lozenges can help alleviate the hoarseness and reduce the cough. You can also use a saline eye wash or saline eye drops to relieve the red and itchy eyes.

Considerations to bear in mind

The vaccine for influenza is usually produced in a laboratory that involves chicken eggs in order to harvest the antibodies but there are other vaccines available that no longer contain eggs. If an individual is allergic to chicken eggs or have experienced other serious reactions to flu shot in the past, this type of vaccination should not be given. The signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction typically include hives or rash that may or may not itch, dizziness, difficulty breathing and swelling of the throat or tongue. If you suspect that an individual is experiencing an allergic reaction to the flu shot, seek immediate medical care as soon as possible.

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