Flu jab: Will it make you ill? Side effects of vaccination revealed

Flu jab is the best way to protect against the influenza virus which can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups.

‘At risk’ groups can be at increased risk of complications including bronchitis and pneumonia.

But many people thinking about getting the flu vaccine may be worried the jab will make you ill after, or even give you the flu.

Dr Luke James, medical director of UK Insurance at Bupa UK, revealed the answer on the health organisation’s website.

He said: “You might worry that the vaccine may make you feel poorly after having it or even give you the flu. But it’s important to know that this won’t happen.

“A flu vaccine given via an injection contains an inactivated virus – that means the virus isn’t live. This means that it won’t give you the flu.

“You might have a bit of redness and soreness on your arm, or thigh, where you had the injection.

“You might also get a mild headache and muscle aches, but these are nothing to worry about and should ease within one or two days.”

But Dr James does warn, that if you are allergic to eggs, you should make sure your doctor or nurse knows so you can have a vaccine that hasn’t been prepared in hens’ eggs.

You are eligible for a free flu jab and advised to have the vaccine if you:

  • Are 65 years of age or over
  • Are pregnant
  • Have certain medical conditions
  • Are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
  • Receive a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill

Frontline health and social care workers are also eligible for the flu vaccine, but it is your employer’s responsibility to arrange and pay for the vaccine.

Flu jab is also free on the NHS for children over the age of six months with a long-term health condition, children aged 2 and 3 on August 31 2018, and children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Children aged between six months and two years are given an injected flu vaccine, whereas children aged between two and 17 are given the flu vaccine nasal spray.

Adults who aren’t eligible for a flu vaccine on the NHS can pay for it privately.

The jab is available from many pharmacies and supermarkets. While prices can vary, it tends to cost up to £20.

The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, from the beginning of October to end of November.

But if you’ve missed getting the jab during these months you can still have it later on in winter. Your GP or pharmacist will be able to advise you on this.

Flu symptoms can be similar to those of the common cold. A sudden fever, a dry, chesty cough, a sore throat and a headache are all signs of the flu.

Likewise, common cold symptoms are listed as a sore throat, coughs and a raised temperature.

Vitamin C has been associated in the past with helping remedy a cold. A 2013 study involving 11,000 participants found, particularly among extremely active people, taking at least 200mg of vitamin C every day can cut the risk of getting a cold in half.

So can taking vitamin C supplements help prevent you getting the influenza virus or should you opt for getting the flu jab instead? The NHS issues its advice. 


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