Flu Vaccine Shot - Safety? Pros & Cons?
It's that time of the year - flu season! However, this year there's an added risk of the Covid-19 pandemic occurring at the same time, creating a huge burden for hospitals. Not to be overlooked, the common yearly flu is also highly contagious and it can also cause thousands of deaths ever year. With that in mind, there's always talk of getting the annual flu shot to help prevent getting the actually flu. But is the flu shot worth getting? What should you be aware of prior to getting the flu shot?
Are Flu Shots Safe?
For the most part, flu shots are safe, however if you do have a medical condition or allergy, it is good to check with your primary doctor to see if getting the flu shot is safe for you. People who probably should not get the flu vaccine include:
- Children who are younger than 6 months of age
- Those who have had a severe reaction to the flue vaccine or any of its components
- Those who have egg or mercury allergies
- Those with Guillain-Barre Syndrom (GBS)
*For those who are unsure, check with a primary healthcare provider prior to getting the flu vaccine shot.
Is It Possible to Contract the Flu Thru the Vaccine?
There are many people who are anti-flu shot. Most of them, their main concern is that they believe that you could possibly get the flu from the flu vaccine. Is it? Nope. It's not possible. Why? Well, the flu vaccine is created from inactivated or dead viruses and cannot give you the actual flu, however, that being said, the vaccine can trigger an immune response from your body so you may develop mild flu-like symptoms such as:
- Low-grade fever
- Muscle aches
Pros of Flu Vaccine?
1. Best Preventative Step
According to the CDC, the first and most important step in prevent the flu is to get the annual flu vaccine. The vaccine has been shown to reduce flu related illness and complications that could result in hospitalization of even death.
2. Milder Flu Symptoms
Although getting the flu vaccine does not guarantee immunity from the flu, however, if you do get sick with the flu, it may help reduce the flu symptoms than if you didn't get the flu vaccination.
3. Protects the Community
Getting the flu vaccination is one step towards protecting those who can't get the vaccination.
Cons of Flu Shot?
1. You May Still Catch the Flu
After you get the flu shot, it will still take about two weeks for your body to build up resistance and develop immunity to the flu virus. Meanwhile, you can potentially still catch the flu. Also, there could be an issue with the vaccine itself. The strain that the medical researchers decide to include in the vaccine may end up not being a good match for the type of virus strain that actually ends up going around during flu season.
2. Severe Allergic Reaction
There are some who may have a severe reaction to the flu vaccine or some ingredient in the vaccine shot. If you've had an allergic reaction before from taking the flu vaccine, it may be best to not get the shot and check with your healthcare provider. If you have a negative reaction to the flu vaccine, the symptoms will show up within minutes or hours. Some of these allergic symptoms may include:
- Rash / Hives
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Difficulty Breathing
- Swelling (around the eyes / mouth)
- Fatigue or Dizziness
GBS, or Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder in which a person's own immune system attacks/damages their nerve cells which can cause muscle weakness and worse paralysis. Most who get this rare syndrome recover fully, but some have long-term nerve damage. If you've had GBS, check with your primary health care provider before going for a flu vaccination.
Whether you decide to get the flu shot or not is up to each individual. However, it would be wise to consider carefully the safety aspect, pros, & cons of getting the flu shot for yourself & your family members before hopping onto the flu shot bandwagon. We hope that you and your family can stay healthy & happy this flu season!