Flu Shots: Cons and Pros

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The flu, which is also called influenza, is an illness that millions of people contract. Since it can be a life-threatening ailment, many people get a flu vaccine for protection. Although flu shots offer flu protection, some people wonder about the cons and pros of these injections. If this is you, you’ll be interested to know that the following information explains what the disadvantages and the benefits of getting a flu shot are.

Flu Shot Cons

Anyone who gets a flu shot can experience side effects from it.

  • Common Side Effects — After receiving an injection, the site of the shot may be painful and red, and the area could swell up. A headache may develop, and your muscles may feel achy. You may also find that your stomach is upset and you have a fever and chills. You may faint. Feeling exhausted is another common side effect of the flu shot. These side effects are typically mild, and they are an indication your body is building up immunity to the flu.

  • Rare Side Effects — Vaccines do not usually cause serious side effects, and this includes the flu vaccine. There have been studies that have linked flu injections with Guillain-Barre syndrome, or GBS, however. This disease causes the immune system to destroy nerve cells in the body, resulting in weakening of the muscles and, in some instances, paralysis. People over the age of 50 have an increased risk for GBS. On the rare occasions that GBS does develop, it manifests after getting the flu vaccine. It can develop days or weeks after inoculation.
  • Severe and Unusual Side Effects — It is possible to develop a severe allergic reaction to a flu shot. Signs of a serious reaction include having trouble breathing, a scratchy throat, wheezing, and hives. The area around the eyes or the area around the mouth may swell. Your heart may race. You may feel dizzy. Loss of strength and a washed-out complexion are signs of a severe reaction as well. These symptoms are rare, but they can develop just minutes or hours after getting a flu shot.

The Flu Vaccine Can Cause Anaphylactic Shock

The flu vaccine has ingredients in it that can cause an allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock. Rare cases of this reaction to the vaccine can be deadly as the allergen from the injection causes severe low blood pressure, narrowing of the airways inside of the lungs, tongue or throat swelling, and diarrhea.

You need to check into a hospital right away if you suspect your reaction to the flu shot is severe. Report your allergic reaction to The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) after getting help from a doctor.

Flu Shots are Not 100% Effective

In addition to the cons of flu shots already mentioned is one more. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), current studies indicate that the flu vaccine lowers the risk of the flu by only 40-60%. The effectiveness of the vaccine can differ from one flu season to another flu season. The level of protection from the flu offered by the flu shot also depends on a person’s age and health status. How well the circulating flu is matched with the flu vaccine that’s available also determines the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Flu Shot Pros

Millions of people are protected from the flu with the flu shot. This injection prevents many people from being hospitalized with this illness. Flu shots also work to prevent influenza-related deaths. Adults as well as children are protected from the flu when they get a flu shot. A study that was done in 2018 revealed that there was an 82% lower risk of intensive care unit admission that was due to the flu in 2012 and up to 2015.

For people who have heart disease, vaccination from the flu reduces the risk of experiencing certain cardiac episodes.

People with COPD can lessen the severity of lung disease caused by the flu.

People with a disease of the lungs and people with diabetes may be able to avoid having to go to the hospital if they get a flu shot.

Although you can still get the flu after you get a flu shot, the chance of winding up in an intensive care unit is almost 60% less likely to occur if you get inoculated. People who receive the shot and wind up in the intensive care unit because they have the flu usually leave the hospital faster than people who do not get a flu shot.

You protect others from the flu when you get the flu vaccine. If you live with children, a senior, or anyone who has health issues or a compromised immune system, getting a flu shot can help you save the lives of your loved ones.

A flu shot can protect a pregnant woman and her baby from the harmful effects of the flu. Women who are pregnant have a higher risk of getting very sick from the flu, and the fever associated with this illness can cause an unborn baby to develop neural tube defects. Women who are pregnant may be able to protect their baby from neural tube defects by getting a flu shot, and they can protect their baby from getting the flu for a few months after the child is born.

Flu vaccines are covered by health insurance companies, including Medicare. Check with your health insurance provider to find out where you should go for your flu shot if you want to ensure that you’ll be covered for it.

You’re better off getting a flu shot than the flu. The flu vaccine is less dangerous than the flu is. The majority of people are able to tolerate the flu shot well.

So, these are the cons and pros of flu shots. Although the CDC recommends that people get a flu shot every year if they are 6 months of age or older, the decision to get a flu vaccine is yours.

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/vaccines-work/vaccineeffect.htm

https://www.vaccines.gov/diseases/flu

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccine-benefits.htm

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/all-about-flu-and-how-prevent-it

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/egg-allergies.htm

https://www.hhs.gov/answers/affordable-care-act/will-the-aca-cover-my-flu-shot/index.html

The American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine; Medical Editor Charles B. Clayman, MD; 1989

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