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Do Flu Shots Get You Sick?

Influenza (flu) is one of the most common and contagious illnesses of the winter season. While having the flu is often rough for adults, it can be much more severe in children. Fortunately, the flu vaccine can help children and adults avoid the flu. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a flu shot each year. Take a moment to read these common questions about the flu shot, and talk to your family doctor about getting your family vaccinated.

Will the flu shot give me the flu?

The flu shot works by exposing your body to a small amount of dead or weakened virus cells. This allows your body’s immune system to create antibodies that protect you from the flu. When you come in contact with an active flu virus after you’ve been vaccinated, your body has the tools to defeat it without getting sick. The virus cells in the vaccine are dead, so they cannot give you the flu.

Are there side effects to the flu shot?

Some people may experience minor side effects after getting a flu shot. The most common side effect is soreness in the area where the vaccine was given. Sometimes a slight, low-grade fever or achiness may occur, but these are not as intense as the fever or body aches that are symptoms of the actual flu.

If you or your child received a nasal spray vaccine, you may notice slight congestion, a runny nose or a sore throat.

Who should get a flu shot?

The CDC recommends that flu shots start at six months of age. All children and adults should get a flu vaccine. The flu carries special risks for kids. Severe complications are most common in children under two years of age, and children under five may require medical attention when they get the flu, according to the CDC. Kids with health issues like asthma or diabetes have a higher risk of complications.

Remember, flu shots aren’t just for kids. The whole family should get vaccines. This helps protect anyone in the house from getting the flu.

The flu shot is an important tool for keeping your family healthy this winter. Learn how you can protect your family from the flu and other seasonal illnesses.

If you’re looking for a pediatrician or family doctor, visit Riley at IU Health to locate expert, compassionate care near you.

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