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What are the pros and cons of getting a flu shot?

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Quick Answer

Getting vaccinated against seasonal influenza confers immunity, or at least some resistance, to the most common forms of the virus in circulation. The treatment is not appropriate for all patients, however, and the CDC recommends against vaccination for patients who are at risk of developing a severe allergic reaction to gelatin, antibiotics or eggs. Patients who are already sick might be advised to wait until after recovery to get vaccinated.

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Full Answer

According to the CDC, the benefits of getting vaccinated against the seasonal flu vastly outweigh the potential drawbacks for most people. Aside from allergic reactions, some people develop tenderness, redness and swelling at the site of the injection. Other side effects of a flu shot can include body aches and fever. It is not possible to contract influenza from a flu shot, but it might be possible to transmit a weakened form of the virus after a nasal spray of the vaccine. This, however, is rare.

Whatever drawbacks exist for flu vaccinations, the benefits of immunity are immense. According to Mayo Clinic, seasonal flu is responsible for over 200,000 hospitalizations in the United States every year, and the virus kills up to 49,000 people annually despite active public health measures to contain it.

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