Flu shot is an annual inactivated flu vaccine which is made up of three seasonal influenza viruses. These include Influenza A (H3N2), influenza A (H1N1) virus (regular seasonal virus), and influenza B virus. These viruses are grown in cultures and then inactivated and developed into vaccination shots.
Information about the Vaccine
The Center for Disease Control has published guidelines about who should be immunized against flu. Here is the recommended list:
- People in the age group of 50 and above
- Residents of chronic-care facilities and other nursing homes
- Women in their second or third trimester of pregnancy during the flu season
- Children and adults who have chronic lung or heart problems, including children with asthma
- Children and teens receiving long-term aspirin therapy, who may develop Reye's Syndrome after the flu
- Children and adults who have chronic metabolic diseases like diabetes mellitus, renal dysfunction, hemoglobinopathies, or immunosuppression such as HIV
Bird flu, influenza or flu, and swine flu are considered to be serious conditions. Annual shots are recommended to prevent flu. Some of the ingredients present in the vaccine such as mercury, thimerosal, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, streptomycin, phenol, and aluminum can cause problems or side effects. Here is a list of possible side effects of the vaccine.
- Skin allergies
- Allergic asthma (rarely noticed)
- Low-grade fever
- Swollen or tender skin at the area of the shot
- Guillain Syndrome, a severe paralytic disease
- Runny nose
- Muscles or joint ache
Severe allergic reaction to the shot is quite rare, but in rare cases, one might develop Guillain-Barre Syndrome. For instance, a woman developed the nerve disease Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving a flu vaccine injection in 2005 through the federal department of parliamentary services. A case of flu vaccine causing complications might be a rarity, which is why, one should not pay heed to exaggerated stories of adverse reactions. There were also rumors about the administration of H1N1 flu vaccine leading to severe adverse effects. In fact, some of the cases wherein the administration of flu vaccine was linked to untoward effects were later found to be a hoax.
It is necessary to know the possible side effects of the shot before taking the shot. You should also know that usually the side effects resolve within 24 hours of appearance. However, if you develop any serious side effect, call the doctor immediately. Inform your doctor when and where you took the shot, and do not forget to mention the time you took your shot. You can request the doctor or nurse to file a form of Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). If you think that you have been injured by the flu shot, you can file a claim for compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.