Who should get the flu vaccine?
It is recommended by doctors and healthcare professionals that everyone over the age of six months receives the flu vaccine once a year. People who are of a higher risk of contracting the flu are advised to get the vaccination. These people are:
- Those over the age of 65
- Children who are younger than five years old
- People who suffer from chronic illnesses that have weakened their immune system
- Pregnant women
It is recommended that you get the flu vaccine at least two weeks before flu season, this is due to the fact that the antibodies take two weeks to properly form.
What are the flu vaccine side effects?
There are a lot of people who avoid getting the flu vaccine thinking that the vaccine might make them sick. However, the flu vaccine cannot make you sick, while it has some side effects, it cannot cause you to get sick because of the actual vaccine. The weakened or killed strains of the flu virus in the vaccine are not strong enough to make you sick.
Side effects from the vaccine only last a few days and most people do not experience them. If you have experienced any severe allergic reactions to vaccines or medication before, speak to your doctor.
The side effects that are most common include:
- Mild muscle aches and stiffness
- A slight fever
- Soreness and possibly redness around the site of the injection
More serious side effects can include; high fever, dizziness and fainting, severe allergic reactions and in some very rare cases, some people have experienced Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), which is a condition that causes weakness and sometimes paralysis through the body. However, it has not been confirmed that the flu virus is the cause of this and it is more likely that people who have suffered from GBS in the past, will develop it again.
If you experience any severe symptoms after receiving the flu vaccine, call you doctor for an assessment.