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“The flu shot is the recommended vaccine for anyone over the age of 6 months wishing to protect themselves from the flu virus. While flu shots are one of the safest medical products, there are still some side effects associated with the vaccine. Most side effects are mild and short-term, but there is a small chance for more severe reactions.

Mild Side Effects of the Flu Vaccine
Most side effects from the flu vaccine are mild and don’t last longer than two days. They are relatively common and are not a cause for concern.

  • Painful, sore, redness at the injection site is the most common side effect. It could be said that most people experience it, but it does not last for more than two days typically.
  • Aches and pains throughout the entire body and is similar to the pain at the injection site but includes the rest of the body. It also does not typically last longer than two days and pain relievers can help alleviate some of the pain.
  • Low-grade fever of 101 degrees or less is another mild side effect that affects a number of people. Like the others, it should go away within a day or two.
  • Headaches, dizziness, and fainting are more common in children, but also occur in older adults as well. People that experience this once, often experience it every time that they get shots, so it is a good idea to mention it to the person administering your vaccine.
  • Nausea is a relatively common side effect from the flu vaccine as well. It is considered mild and typically goes away not long after receiving the shot.

Severe Side Effects of the Flu Vaccine
While these are much rarer than mild side effects and are unlikely to occur, they do happen and should be recognized. These side effects are a cause for concern, and you should talk to your doctor or visit the hospital as soon as possible if you or your loved one develops them.

  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Trouble breathing
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Weakness
  • Changed behavior
  • Dizziness
  • Wheezing
  • Paleness
  • High fever (101 or higher)

The above list of side effects can be associated with a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine and should be acknowledged immediately. They usually occur within a few hours of receiving the vaccine. Call your doctor or 9-1-1 as soon as any of those side effects present themselves.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
Guillain-Barré syndrome may or may not be caused by the flu vaccine. When it does occur, it is typically after the flu, and not after the vaccine, but there have been a few cases when this does happen. It is extremely rare but is a neurological condition that causes weakness and paralysis with immediate hospitalization required. People typically recover relatively quickly, but should not get the influenza vaccine again.”

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