What Are Some Possible Side Effects of the Influenza Vaccine?


Quick Answer

Soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site, a low-grade fever, and muscle soreness are the most common side effects of the influenza vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Severe effects include systemic allergy symptoms, such as wheezing, hives, dizziness, rapid heart beat and difficulty breathing.

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The flu vaccine has also been associate with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes spreading weakness and paralysis throughout the body, states Healthline. The condition requires immediate medical attention though most people recover with time. There are approximately one to two cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome per million people vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Individuals 6 months and older should be vaccinated against the flu, according to MedicineNet. Those who have chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, asthma and lung disease; pregnant women; those over 65; and those who are immunocompromised should take special care to get vaccinated, as they are at risk of serious complications of the flu. Caregivers coming into contact with any of these high-risk populations should also get vaccinated.

Certain populations should avoid the flu vaccine, notes MedicieNet. Those who have ever had a serious allergic reaction to the flu vaccine, those who with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome that occurred after previous vaccination with the influenza vaccine, and those with a serious egg allergy should not get the vaccine.

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