You should get the flu shot every year. The Pfizer vaccine is one of the most effective vaccines used in the United States, and the CDC recommends it for everyone 6 months and older.
The Moderna vaccine, which is now available in an injectable form, is recommended for anyone 6 months and older who is at high risk for serious illness from the flu. The CDC recommends that people 7 months and older get the vaccine in the fall.
It may be helpful to keep a record of any symptoms you get, so you can get a flu shot if you’re concerned about the severity of your symptoms.
If you have any concerns about getting the flu vaccine, talk to your health care provider.
The CDC recommends anyone 12 years and older get the nasal spray vaccine (Alfent). But there are some people who should get the nasal spray vaccine and others who should get the annual flu shot.
Flu shots are more effective against the flu, compared to the nasal spray vaccine, for those who get the nasal spray vaccine. The nasal spray vaccine is also less likely to cause side effects.
People who are pregnant or who have a weakened immune system may not be able to get the nasal spray vaccine. They may need the flu shot instead.
The nasal spray vaccine is also not recommended for people who have a high risk for Guillain-Barr syndrome (GBS) and who have already had one GBS infection. Anyone with a history of GBS infection should get the nasal spray vaccine instead.
The nasal spray vaccine is recommended for adults ages 18 to 49 years.
The flu vaccine is recommended for people ages 50 years and older.
The CDC recommends that anyone who has ever had a severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccine get the flu vaccine.
The nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for people who have ever had Guillain-Barr syndrome.
There are a number of other vaccines available for people with compromised immune systems. Talk with a health care provider to see which one is best for you.
Can you get sick from the flu shot?
There’s no evidence that you can get sick from the flu shot. Even if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine, you can still get the flu from someone who has flu-like symptoms.
Talk with a health care provider if you have concerns about getting the flu vaccine.
Is there a vaccine for people with asthma?
Asthma can make it harder for you to fight off infections. But some people have asthma that makes their immune systems stronger than average, and they may have a higher risk of getting flu-related complications if they get the flu.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), people with asthma are at a higher risk of flu complications.
The AAFA notes that people with asthma may have a higher-than-average risk of developing flu-related complications.
A 2018 study found that people with asthma were more likely to be hospitalized for flu-related complications, including pneumonia and bronchitis.
The AAFA recommends that people with asthma get the flu vaccine.
The AAFA also recommends that people with asthma get the injectable flu vaccine.
Talk with a health care provider about getting a flu vaccine if you have asthma.
What are the side effects of the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is generally considered safe, but some people have a reaction to the vaccine. The CDC reports that reactions to the flu vaccine occur in about 1 in 1,000 doses.
The most common side effects of the flu vaccine are:
- Soreness or redness where the shot was given
- Muscle pain
- Nausea or vomiting
The CDC lists these as minor side effects, which can be treated at home.
In rare cases, people who get the flu vaccine have a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Symptoms include:
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling of the throat or tongue
- Hives or swelling of the face or neck
- Itchy, red rash
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the legs
The CDC says that people with a severe allergic reaction may have symptoms such as:
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Low blood pressure
If you have an allergic reaction, seek emergency medical attention.
If you experience any symptoms of a severe allergic reaction after getting the flu vaccine, call your health care provider.
What is the vaccine schedule for the flu?
The flu shot is a two-dose vaccine.
The first shot is given at a health care provider’s office. The second shot is given two to four weeks later.
You may also get a shot if you’re traveling to an area that has high levels of the flu during flu season.
If you’re in the hospital, you may get the flu vaccine through a medical supply company.
Here are the recommended vaccine schedules for the flu:
- If you’re in the hospital and are getting a shot, you’ll get your first shot at the hospital.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other organizations recommend that you get a flu vaccine every year.
The flu vaccine is also available as an annual shot.
The CDC recommends that you get the flu vaccine each year, regardless of your age.
You can get the shot at:
- Your doctor’s office
- A local health department
- A community health center
- A pharmacy
- A drugstore
You can also get the flu vaccine by:
- A mail order company
- By phone
- By a video call
The AAFA recommends that you get the flu vaccine every year. Talk with your health care provider about a schedule that works best for you.
The AAFA also recommends that you get the nasal spray vaccine every year.
How can I get a flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine can be given by a health care provider or by a health care supply company.
You can also get a flu vaccine at a drugstore.
The vaccine works best if you get it before you start feeling sick.
Here’s what to do if you forget to get a shot:
- Call your health care provider’s office and ask when you’ll get your shot.
- If you have trouble remembering, ask the person who schedules your shots if you can get a vaccine.
- If you’re not sure what day you get your shot, call the health care provider and ask when you will get your shot.
- If you still can’t remember the day, ask your doctor for an appointment.
You may also get a flu vaccine at a pharmacy.
You can call a health care provider’s office to ask when you’ll get a shot.
If you can’t remember, ask the person who schedules your shots when you should get your shot.
The CDC says that people should wait until the last day of the flu season for a shot.
If you’re getting a flu shot at a health care provider’s office, the vaccine is usually given on the same day as the flu shot.
You can also get the flu shot at a local health department.
The flu shot is not usually given at a pharmacy or drugstore.
The flu shot may not work as well if you haven’t been vaccinated.
The flu shot is only for people 6 months or older.
How is the flu different from the usual cold or the common cold?
The flu is a viral infection that can be mild to severe. The flu and common cold share many symptoms.
The flu can put you at risk for complications, including pneumonia, severe infections, and even death.
Symptoms of the flu and common cold often are similar. But some people may have a mild case of the flu and a common cold, and some people may have a severe case of the flu and a cold.
The flu and common cold are caused by two different viruses.
The symptoms of the flu and common cold are:
- Runny nose
- Body aches
The flu and common cold can look and feel like other symptoms, such as the flu.
The flu and common cold are caused by different types of viruses. One type is called the influenza virus. The other type is called the rhinovirus.
The flu can be serious. It can also be painful for some people.
What’s the takeaway?
You can get the flu. Anyone can get the flu. But you can reduce your risk of getting the flu by getting a flu vaccine each year.
The flu is generally mild, but it can be severe. It can be very hard to get a flu vaccine. Or it may not work.
The symptoms of the flu and common cold are similar. But you may have a mild case of the flu and a common cold. The flu and common cold can look and feel like other symptoms.
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