Contact Us for a Free Consultation
Talk To A Representative Now: 215-531-7882

Who Should Get a Flu Vaccine and Other Questions About the Flu Shot

Who Should Get a Flu Vaccine and Other Questions About the Flu Shot

Who Should Get a Flu Vaccine and Other Questions About the Flu Shot

December 28 2021

Flu Symptoms, Complications and the Effectiveness of the Flu Shot

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the agency estimates that the flu causes 12,000 to 52,000 deaths annually in the United States alone. Flu season is now in full swing and we should all be doing our part to help protect ourselves and those around us by minimizing the spread of the virus, and part of that is getting a flu shot. But how long does the flu shot last? How effective is the flu shot? And who should avoid getting the shot? We’ll delve into these answers and more in this article.

Talk To A Care Expert 215-531-7882

What are the Symptoms of the Flu?

Influenza (common flu) can cause mild to severe illness. In some cases it can lead to death. The flu usually comes on suddenly and has a variety of symptoms including:

  • Fever (not everyone with the flu will have this symptom)
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Some people may also experience vomiting and diarrhea, though this symptom is more common in children than adults

What is the Difference Between the Flu and COVID-19?

Both Influenza and COVID-19 (Coronavirus) are contagious respiratory illnesses, however, they are caused by different viruses. Compared to the flu, COVID-19 can cause more serious illness in some people. Symptoms also take longer to show up. However, because they are both similar respiratory illnesses, the difference between them cannot be determined based on symptoms alone. Testing is needed to confirm a diagnosis. For more information on the differences between the flu and COVID-19, visit the CDC website.

What are Complications from the Flu?

Most people who get the flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks. However, some people will develop complications as a result of the flu, some of which can be life threatening. Some complications include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus infection
  • Ear infection
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart)
  • Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
  • Myositis or Rhabdomyolysis (inflammation of the muscle tissue)
  • Multi-organ failure (e.g. respiratory and kidney failure)
  • Sepsis (the body’s life-threatening response to infection)
  • Worsen chronic conditions (for example, those with asthma or chronic heart disease)

Those at higher risk of developing severe illness from the flu include people ages 65 and older, people of any age with certain medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart disease), pregnant women, and children younger than age 5, but especially those younger than age 2.

Emergency Warning Signs

This list is not all-inclusive, so consult a medical provider for other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

In Children

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Ribs pulling in with each breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dehydration
  • Not alert or interacting when awake
  • Seizures
  • Fever above 104 degrees F

In Adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in chest/abdomen
  • Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
  • Seizures
  • Not urinating
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe weakness or unsteadiness
Let Us Start Taking Care of You START NOW

Flu Shot Basics

It is important to note that all vaccines are not 100% effective, but they are extremely effective at preventing severe illness. According to the CDC, the flu vaccine helps reduce the risk of flu illness between 40 and 60 percent among the overall population enduring flu season.

The range of effectiveness depends on a few things. First, the characteristics of the person who is being vaccinated (such as age and health). Second, it also depends on how well the vaccines “match” the flu virus spreading through the community. There are a couple different strains and it is possible that the vaccine may provide little or no protection for the strain that happens to circulate one season. However, when they do match, the vaccine provides substantial benefits by preventing flu illness and complications.

Remember, there are many more benefits to getting the annual flu vaccine, and scientific studies support these benefits, which include preventing illness, reducing complications, reducing hospitalizations and reducing the number of deaths. 

Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?

Most people can and should get the flu shot. It is approved for people of different ages, with different dosage for different age groups, including pregnant women, those with chronic conditions, and those with an egg allergy (speak with your doctor first).

People Who Should NOT Get the Flu Shot Include:

  • Children younger than 6 months of age
  • People who have a severe, life-threatening allergy to any ingredient in the flu vaccine (other than egg proteins)
  • People who have had a severe allergic reaction to a dose of influenza vaccine should not get the vaccine again

People Who Should NOT Get the Flu Nasal Spray Vaccine:

Unlike the shot which contains portions of the dead virus, the nasal spray vaccine contains portions of live virus. Because of this, there are additional groups of people who should not get this particular vaccine.

  • Children younger than 2 years of age
  • Adults 50 and over
  • People who have a severe, life-threatening allergy to any ingredient in the flu vaccine (other than egg proteins)
  • People who have had a severe allergic reaction to any flu vaccine
  • Children and adolescents 2 through 17 years of age who are receiving aspirin or medications containing salicylate
  • People with weakened immune systems due to any cause
  • People who are in close contact with someone who is severely immunocompromised and require a protected environment
  • Pregnant women
  • Children ages 2 through 4 who have asthma or a history of wheezing in the past 12 months
  • People with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks
  • People with cochlear implants
  • People who have recently taken influenza antiviral drugs

Other Things You Should Know

Besides getting your annual flu shot, you should also practice proper handwashing and hygiene. Here is a great refresher on proper handwashing technique.

  1. Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Don’t forget the backs of your hands, between your fingers, under your fingernails, and around your wrists.
  3. Scrub for at least 20 seconds (hum “Happy Birthday” twice from beginning to end).
  4. Rinse your hands under clean running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Remember to use hand sanitizer (of at least 60% alcohol) when you can’t wash your hands! Apply the gel to the palm of one hand then rub your hands together to get the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers, rubbing until your hands are dry. This should take about 20 seconds.

Need More Details? CONTACT US

Want to feel awesome about your job?

At All American Home Care, our people are our priority. We want our entire staff to feel awesome about their job. And at All American Home Care, you truly can.

Join Our Team
Get Care Call Us