The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of six months of age get the flu vaccine. Far too few people actually get the flu vaccine each year, partly due to concerns about allergic reactions to the vaccine or worry that the benefits do not outweigh the risks. These concerns are generally unfounded, and there are very few reasons not to get your flu vaccine today. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits and safety of the flu vaccine.
What is the Flu?
Influenza or “the flu” is a viral illness of the airways. It usually causes fever, body aches, cough, headache, and fatigue. A sore throat and runny/stuffy nose can also occur. Influenza can be more severe in young children, older adults, pregnant women, and in those with certain health conditions, like asthma.
Flu Vaccine Allergies and Adverse Reactions
An allergic reaction to the flu vaccine only happens once every 1.3 million flu vaccine doses. The chances of having an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine are very small. Some people with an egg allergy may be concerned about receiving the flu vaccine because it is made using a egg-based process. However, the amount of egg protein, or ovalbumin, contained in the flu vaccine is very small and usually does not cause allergic reactions, even in those with a severe egg allergy. This means that the flu vaccine is safe and beneficial even in those with egg allergy.
The only people who should not receive the flu vaccine are those who have had a severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine or any of its ingredients. Those with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome should discuss whether or not to get a flu vaccine with their doctor.
It is important to note that all injectable forms of the flu vaccine contain dead viruses and cannot cause the flu.
Flu Vaccine and Asthma
It is no secret that having the flu can cause complications in asthma patients, which can lead to hospitalizations or even death. There is evidence that getting the flu vaccine reduces the chances of asthma-related complications even if the patient still contracts the flu. This evidence is based on limited studies. However, it remains true that if you get the flu vaccine you are less likely to get the flu, which means that you are less likely to have asthma-related flu complications.
Regardless of your allergies or asthma, it is important to get the flu vaccine every year. Contact us today for more information or to schedule your appointment.