Flu Vaccination - Side Effects

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Did you have any side effects from your flu vaccination?

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What are risks and side effects of the flu vaccine?

Serious side effects of the flu vaccine are uncommon. Side effects of the injection vaccine include soreness at the site of the injection, muscle aching, fever, and feeling unwell. People report less discomfort with the intradermal rather than the intramuscular vaccine. Very rarely, serious allergic reactions have been reported.

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an illness characterized by fever, nerve damage, and muscle weakness. In 1976, vaccination with the swine flu vaccine was associated with development of GBS. Studies have been done to evaluate if other flu vaccines were associated with GBS, with only one of the studies showing an association. That single study suggested that one person out of 1 million vaccinated people may be at risk of GBS associated with the vaccine.

The live viruses in the nasal-spray vaccine are weakened so that they do not cause severe symptoms. However, people at high risk for serious complications of the flu (see above) and those with suppressed immune systems (including those taking biologic medications, such as for rheumatoid arthritis) should receive the inactivated rather than the nasal-spray vaccine. Mild symptoms can occur as a side effect of the vaccination. Side effects of the nasal-spray flu vaccine can include runny nose, headache, sore throat, and cough. Children who receive the vaccine may also develop mild fever and muscle aches.

Return to Flu Vaccine (Flu Shot)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Bernadette, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 22

Ten days ago I was feeling rather weak. As soon as I got home, I went straight to bed. Even though it was a warm day, I got colder and colder, and then started shivering. I can't say how long that went on when I woke at one point so hot and sweating that I couldn't get out of my clothes fast enough. My temperature seemed to register 104.2! I dozed off again not being able to take medication because I just couldn't remember to. The next day I felt cooler so I showered. Then the whole thing repeated. Meanwhile my friends were calling each other to go to me as it seems I was delirious on the phone! They came with the paramedics and my temperature was 105! In the emergency room, the doctor noticed a pink area on my leg. It got worse before 3 antibiotics kicked in. The cellulitis in the leg has improved and the color is back to pink from red, the heat has lessened and the swelling is somewhat better at this time. It still hurts to put lotion on. I keep it elevated, but do not use heat on it as my primary doctor advised me to!

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Comment from: Anne, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 23

I had a lumpectomy and had sentinel node dye. Three nodes were removed, and 2 of those positive. I returned to surgery 2 weeks later and had 4 nodes removed and further scraping lateral to where previous lumpectomy was done. One node was positive. Now I have infection around the auxiliary operation site and down into my breast. I have used 2 different antibiotics and still using one for 5 days now, and my breast is still red and sore. I had fluid drained and was told I did not have an infection; but I did. So now I play the waiting game. When this subsides I am having radiation and the hormonal treatment. My cancer is a stage one. I had two tumors in my breast.

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