Which is Worse: Side Effects of the Flu Shot or Side Effects of the Flu?

If you are on the fence about getting your flu shot because you think the side effects of the flu shot are worse than the side effects of the flu, you may have been exposed to some misinformation.

We’re here to clear up any questions about flu shot side effects, particularly how they compare to the side effects of the flu itself.

Flu Shot Side Effects vs. Flu Side Effects

Side Effects of the Flu Shot

After getting your flu shot, you may experience some minor side effects shortly after vaccination; they should be mild and not last long. These can include:

  • Soreness, swelling, or redness at the site of your flu shot injection
  • A low grade fever (100 F-101 F)
  • Body aches

Flu ShotPer the CDC, the nasal spray version of the flu vaccine actually causes more intense side effects in children (runny nose, wheezing, vomiting, headache, muscle ache, and fever) and adults (sore throat, cough, runny nose, and headache), so if you are looking to avoid major side effects, the flu shot is your best option!

Of course, there are some rare occasions when the flu shot can cause more serious side effects, such as severe allergic reactions. The CDC and FDA have established VAERS, the Vaccine Adverse Event Report System, to track side effects of the flu shot and monitor post-vaccination issues.

Does the Flu Shot Cause Autism?

One of the biggest myths circulating about flu shot side effects is that vaccination causes autism.

In case you are unaware, the original study that made this assertion has been retracted and many independently-conducted studies have concluded that there is no causal link between vaccinations (including the flu shot) and autism.

Why do immunizations like the flu shot get blamed for autism? Some people think that one ingredient, the preservative thimerosal which was previously used in a number of routine childhood vaccinations, lead to a dangerous build-up of mercury that caused autism. However, in 1999 the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics asked all vaccine manufacturers to remove thimerosal from vaccines as a precautionary measure. Even though childhood vaccines no longer contain the preservative, autism rates have still risen since 1999, so the thimerosal-autism connection isn’t valid.

Can I Get the Flu From the Flu Shot?

Another popular myth about flu shot side effects? That you can get the flu from your flu shot. This isn’t true, as the flu shot is either made with inactivated (aka non-infectious) flu viruses or without any flu virus at all. If you get sick with flu-like symptoms soon after your flu shot, you either have a common cold with similar side effects to the flu, or you were exposed to the flu virus before your body had a chance to react to the flu shot and develop the flu-fighting antibodies.


Side Effects of the Flu

Now that we’ve explored the side effects of the flu shot, you should know the symptoms and complications of the influenza itself:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Sinus infection
  • Ear infection

The last four complications of the flu are particularly dangerous for at-risk populations like children, people with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and people with chronic conditions such as asthma or congestive heart failure.

Protect Yourself With Test Smartly Labs

Now that you’ve compared the side effects of the flu shot with complications of the flu, you’re probably ready to arm yourself against the flu. Visit your nearest wellness-certified Test Smartly Labs today to get your flu shot.

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