The flu vaccine doesn’t protect you from the flu. So, if you get sick with the flu, you’ll still need to take antibiotics.
If you have a fever or a cough, you should see a healthcare provider right away. They’ll help you determine what’s causing your symptoms and whether the flu vaccine is safe for you to get.
The flu vaccine is safe and effective for most people. But if you have any risk factors, you should get the flu vaccine. Be sure to follow the instructions for the vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following:
The flu shot is best if given in the outer arm, which is the same place as the arm used for giving the vaccine.
The flu shot is best if given at the same time every year.
If you have a weakened immune system from having HIV or another condition, get the vaccine as recommended but don’t get it late in the season.
In people with chronic health conditions, the flu shot isn’t a good way to prevent the flu. If you have one of these conditions, you should get the flu vaccine every year to help your immune system stay strong.
Flu vaccine safety:
You shouldn’t get the flu if you have a weakened immune system.
The flu shot is safe for most healthy people. But if you have any risk factors, including:
- Chronic health conditions
- A weakened immune system
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- A history of Guillain-Barr syndrome or other nerve damage
You should get the flu vaccine if you’re between the ages of 2 and 64 and don’t have a history of Guillain-Barr syndrome or another condition that affects how your body responds to the vaccine.
The CDC says that if you have a history of Guillain-Barr syndrome or other nerve damage, get the flu shot every year.
The flu vaccine contains a small amount of the flu virus. So, if you get the flu vaccine and then get sick again, you could still get sick. Also, getting the flu vaccine isn’t a good way to prevent the flu.
The vaccine can’t prevent the flu from spreading from person to person.
If you have a weakened immune system, talk to a healthcare provider to see what type of vaccine you should get.
The CDC recommends that people who have cancer, HIV, weakened immune systems, or any type of chronic health condition get the vaccine.
There are some people who shouldn’t get the flu shot:
- Pregnant women. Flu vaccines aren’t recommended for pregnant women, as they may not be safe to use during pregnancy.
- Children under 6 months old. Flu vaccines aren’t recommended for children younger than 6 months old because of a small amount of the vaccine that can cause side effects.
- Pregnant women. Flu vaccines aren’t recommended for pregnant women because the flu vaccine can cause harmful effects in the fetus.
- Seniors. Flu vaccines aren’t recommended for seniors because they can cause problems for older people’s immune systems.
Is the flu vaccine safe for people with an immune system that isn’t working well?
Some people with weakened immune systems and chronic health conditions may experience some side effects when getting the flu shot. These side effects can include:
- Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
- A sore arm or shoulder
- Feeling tired or weak
- Stomach pain
- Nausea or vomiting
The CDC doesn’t recommend that people with an immune system that’s working well get the flu vaccine.
Flu vaccine side effects:
You may get a sore arm or shoulder after the flu vaccine. This is normal.
Here are possible side effects that may occur after getting the flu vaccine:
- A fever
- A headache
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
These possible side effects usually go away in a few days.
When should you call your healthcare provider?
See a healthcare provider if you:
- Have a fever with a cough or sore throat
- Have a headache, muscle aches, or nausea
- Suffer from a sore arm or shoulder
- Have a rash or other skin symptoms
- Have a fever that lasts longer than 2 days
- Have a severe headache, which makes it hard to get out of bed or talk
- See a healthcare provider who is concerned about a flu-like illness
What other precautions should I take?
Talk to your healthcare provider if you:
- Have a weakened immune system
- Have a chronic health condition
- Have a weakened immune system because of a past medical condition
- Are pregnant or think you might be pregnant
- Think you might have Guillain-Barr syndrome after getting the flu vaccine
Keep in mind that the flu vaccine doesn’t protect you from getting the flu. So if you get sick with the flu, take the recommended antibiotics.
It’s also important to get the flu vaccine every year. You can get the flu vaccine any time, even during the winter.
The flu vaccine is safe if you’ve had the flu before. But if you’ve never had the flu, it’s not safe to get the flu vaccine.
The flu virus changes every year. So, the flu can still be dangerous even if you get the flu vaccination.
You should get a flu vaccine every year, even if you’re healthy. If you’ve had the flu before, get the flu vaccination.
What happens if I don’t get the flu vaccination?
If you’re not up to getting the flu vaccination, talk to your healthcare provider.
If you do get the flu, you can get the flu. You need to treat the infection with a prescription antibiotic.
The flu virus can spread from person to person. It can get worse quickly. And people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get the flu.
The flu can be dangerous, even if you don’t get the flu vaccination.
Take the flu vaccination every year or talk to a healthcare provider about getting a vaccine.
Things to keep in mind
There are some key points to keep in mind if you get the flu.
The flu can be dangerous. If you have the flu, you should call your healthcare provider and get medical care right away.
The flu can be serious. You could have a serious flu-related illness.
The flu virus can be spread from person to person. It can spread quickly and cause serious illness.
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