You could still get sick with the flu even if you get the flu shot, or it could be something else. Here are some reasons why you may have flu-like/flu symptoms even after you got the shot:
You may be sick from some other respiratory virus like the common cold, which has some similar symptoms to those of influenza. This can be confusing because these colds circulate during the same time as the flu does. The flu vaccine does not protect you from the common cold viruses.
You may have gotten sick during the two week time period between which you got the shot and you develop antibodies to the flu strains in the shot. Often times this is when people say they got sick from the flu shot. However, you are unable to get sick from the flu shot.
You may have been exposed to a strain of the flu that is very different from those in the flu vaccine. The strains in the vaccine are able to offer some coverage of other similar strains not in the vaccine. But there many strains of the flu and they can easily mutate to form new strains. Therefore, it can be somewhat hard to predict which strains of the flu will circulate during the season. However, the shot will more likely than not offer some coverage and that’s better than nothing.
Different bodies respond differently to different vaccines. If your body doesn’t respond or make ample antibodies you may still get sick from the flu. There’s nothing around that.
You can’t get sick from the flu shot, but you may still end up sick. Nothing is certain but some protection is better than no protection. The flu can be and is deadly so please consider getting the shot for yourself and your children, not only to protect your family but to offer some herd immunity to those unable to protect themselves this season!
Kiddos with the highest risk of complications from the influenza virus are those aged 0-5, and the CDC is recommending all children age 6 months and older get the flu shot this year and every year.
Children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years who are getting their FIRST flu shot will most likely need to have two doses a month apart.
The first dose is needed to “prime” the immune system and the second dose provides protection from the flu. (Children who do not get the second dose have much less or no protection from the flu.)
The first dose needs to be given as soon as the vaccine becomes available so that the second dose can be given in time to have protection at the peak of the season.
After that, the child will only need one dose per year for coverage.
Children under six months are unable to receive the vaccine, but there are still ways to offer them protection. First and foremost, urge everyone around your children under 6 months to get the vaccine to keep the flu from getting close. (Herd immunity, folks!) Also, follow those common-sense hand washing and germ-reducing rules you learned in elementary school!
And please, please, please…stay home when you’re sick. I can’t say that enough.
Question: I heard even though the flu vaccine missed the target this year it is still a good idea to get one because it stays in your system and could work for strains not covered in next year’s vaccine. Is that true?
Here’s my response:
The flu vaccine was less than 50% effective this year. And that happens. Sometimes those in charge of making the vaccines guess the wrong strains. It’s just not possible to know with certainty what’s going to circulate in the coming flu season. Okay, so they missed this year, but if you get vaccinated, there’s still potential that you may be infected with one of the strains covered in the vaccine, be protected, and never get sick. According to the CDC, analysis of the circulating flu viruses for this season indicate that most H3N2 viruses showing up in sick people are different from the H3N2 strain in the vaccine. But, there is evidence that the vaccine will work well for about 1/3 of the H3N2 strains circulating, and should offer good protection against the H1N1 and influenza B viruses. Continue reading →
It’s flu season again. And you have a decision to make. Should you get the flu vaccine this year?
Before you get started educating yourself on the influenza vaccine (and I applaud you for doing so), you may want to read the previous two articles in this flu education series:
So many people are confused about what influenza really is because the word “flu” is often misused and confused for various other sicknesses going on in the body. To familiarize yourself with the true flu symptoms and to understand why you should get vaccinated, please read: What is influenza, “the flu?”
Understanding a little more about how the influenza virus is constructed and how it mutates is also important in grasping why we all need to get the flu shot every year. I think you’ll be interested in reading more about the virus that causes the flu and learning: Why do we keep getting the flu over and over again?
Now that you’ve become flu savvy and have decided you are ready to make the choice to look into getting the vaccine, it’s important to know all you can before deciding which vaccine may be best for you and your loved ones. Continue reading →