Can Flu Shots Make You ill

By Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Table of Contents


In the last few years, there has been an increasing interest in flu vaccines. Some people are reluctant to get them because of the fear of being harmed. 

The flu virus, or influenza virus, is highly contagious and causes severe illness. It is especially dangerous for those over the age of 65, those with a weakened immune system, and pregnant women.

The purpose of this essay is to explore the benefits of flu vaccines.  There are a few ways to prevent the flu. The vaccination can do wonders by preventing contracting flu infection.

The flu is a respiratory illness that can cause severe respiratory illness, including pneumonia. There are millions of deaths have reported worldwide due to influenza. According to CDC, it is around 12,000 to 50,000 per year in the past ten years.

What is ‘Viral Flu’? 

“Flu” is an illness caused by a virus. It’s called the “flu” because of the fever, chills, and shaking that it causes.

It’s a contagious disease that can be spread through the air when someone who has it coughs or sneezes.

You can get the flu by touching something that has been touched or coughed on by someone with the flu. The flu is not caused by the common cold, which is caused by a different kind of virus.

There are subtypes of flu viruses.

  • Influenza A (deadly virus)
  • Influenza B
  • Influenza C
  • Influenza D 

Flu Symptoms

Fever is the most recognized easiest symptom in viral flu whereas in the common cold it is the sore throat. It comes with chills and rigors and can be in the range of 101 F to 104 F.

Other symptoms of viral flu include:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffed Nose
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diahrrea

The symptoms of pneumonia are typically fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include localized chest pain, chills, and extreme fatigue. 

Pneumonia is an infection that affects the lungs. Viral pneumonia is a hot topic as it can cause deaths in vulnerable groups.

How Flu Spreads?

Flu viruses can be spread through the air, through close contact with an infected person, or through contact with objects or surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus.

The flu is most commonly spread through the air through close contact with an infected person. The flu can be deadly in severe cases. 

Influenza viruses spread from person to person through 

  • An infected person can shed virus droplets through coughing, sneezing, and laughing.
  • Objects, such as a telephone, and utensils that are contaminated with the virus and then touched by someone else
  • The door handles, public transport, and shop countertops are heavily contaminated with these viruses. A simple touch will be able to transfer viruses to your fingers. 

Once you used these contaminated fingers around the facial or nasal area, it will let the virus to spread into your breathing system.

Patients are highly infectious in the first few days (0–3 days) of infection and can spread the flu for up to 7 to 9 days. 

Who Gets Viral Flu Fast?

  • Children less than 5 years
  • Elderly people aged more than 65 years
  • Pregnancy
  • Cancer patients and chemotherapy patients
  • HIV/AIDS infected patients
  • Organ transplanted patients

What Dose Does the Flu Vaccine Have Inside? 

It is flu season from October to February, which means that now is the time to get vaccinated against the flu.

The flu vaccine comes in two forms. Both have inactive viral forms. 

  • Trivalent vaccine ( 2 influenza A types; (H1N1, H3N2) and Influenza B)
  • Quadrivalent Vaccine (2 influenza A types and 2 influenza B types) 

There is a live, weakened form of the virus as well, which comes as a nasal spray. It is recommended to give it to immune-competent people.

Can a Flu Shot Actually Cause a Viral Flu?

One of the most common questions people have about the flu vaccine is whether or not it can cause the flu. The answer is no. The flu shot cannot give you a viral flu.

The flu vaccine is made with inactivated (dead) viruses, so it is not possible for the vaccine to cause the flu.

The flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19 or the common cold.These are caused by different strains of viruses. 

The flu vaccine is designed to protect vulnerable groups such as children less than 5 years old, people over 65 years of age, pregnant females, and immuno-compromised individuals from getting the flu.

Adverse Effects of the Flu Vaccine

Some people may experience minor side effects from the flu vaccine. 

The most common side effects from the flu shot are soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was given.

These effects usually last two days or less. Other side effects might include 

  • Mild fever
  • Bodyaches
  • Soreness of the site

These effects may disappear in one to two days.

Children are given a live vaccine via nasal spray.

The nasal spray may be given to children because it has a weak influenza virus that can cause mild illness in children. The effects of nasal spray on a child might cause:

  • Cold-like symptoms (runny nose, nasal congestion)
  • Headache
  • Post viral wheezing
  • headache
  • Low fever
  • Muscle pain

The nasal spray for adults might cause mild cold-like symptoms, such as runny nose, cough, sore throat, and headache.

Allergic Reaction to Flu Vaacine

Everyone who has had the flu vaccine must be monitored for the first 20 minutes for allergic reactions. It is a rare complication. 

If you have an allergy to egg protein, you must inform your doctor beforehand to receive the vaccine. 

There are three forms of flu vaccine. One is made from egg-based protein while the other two are without egg protein. 

The incidence of allergic reactions to the flu vaccine is less than 1%.

The signs of a severe allergic reaction might be 

  • Itchy rash
  • Pallor
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing


The symptoms of an allergy may appear within the first 20 minutes most often, but may occur later as well. 

If you have previous allergies to vaccines, you had better take precautions before getting a flu vaccine, such as, 

  • Get the vaccine as an inpatient at the hospital 
  • Avoiding health campaigns and getting the vaccine from the hospital.
  • Wear an allergy bracelet 

When to See the Doctor

When you’re feeling under the weather, it’s natural to think that everything will be fine if you just take some over-the-counter medicines.

But sometimes, the flu is more serious than it seems, and you should see a doctor if you think you have it.

Here are the serious flu symptoms that you need medical advice on.

  • chest or stomach pain
  • severe vomiting
  • breathing difficulty
  • neck stiffness
  • faintishness or lightheadedness
  • confusion

The flu is a respiratory illness that can cause severe respiratory illness, including pneumonia, myocarditis, and meningitis.

Thus, getting the flu vaccine annually will help to reduce these complications.

It’s also important to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands to prevent influenza.


TeleHealthDoc articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Dr. Pallavi Sharma is one of Melbourne’s best, well respected cosmetic doctors and aims to provide longstanding anti-aging benefits for her clients. With over 11 years experience in Performing cosmetic procedures, Dr. Sharma has lectured medical professionals regarding cosmetic treatments and is heavily involved in providing up to date cosmetic treatments to her clients and friends.
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