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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Do You Get Sick After Getting the Flu Shot? Here Is Why

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This is the period of winter and Harmattan. Yes, it is the holiday period, but it is also the period where almost everyone gets the flu and you will too if you are not careful. Most times, during this period, you are advised to get the flu shot but do you know that these shots you take can make you sick again?

One of the fears people have that causes them to shy away from taking the flu vaccine is that if you receive the flu vaccine, you will get the flu. This is absolutely a lie, and it is a very big myth. If you take the flu shot, you will not get the flu in any way, however, according to research and study carried out in 2015, 1000 people participated in that research, and it was seen that 43% of people believed in the myth of getting the flu after getting the vaccine.

According to Dr Andrew Peskoz who is a microbiologist and a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the John Hopkins hospital, he revealed that what is contained in the flu shot is a killed flu virus that contains only half of the virus. It is this half that your body needs to make an immune response to. He further clarified that the flu virus is taken on the arm muscle which is typically not the place any flu virus goes into.

According to him, you have about 0% chance of getting the flu virus from the flu vaccine. This, however, doesn’t stop you from experiencing some discomfort after given the flu shot. The pain experienced can be similar to the symptoms of the flu hence people always making the mistake of saying the flu shot brings in the flu virus.


There are some side effects you will get from the flu shots, and they include inflammation, swelling, redness and/or pain around the area where you got the Shot. You would also experience headaches, fever, nausea and sore muscles.

According to Dr Peskoz, these symptoms you experience are all usual symptoms that arise from your body reactions to the drug. This is only your body’s immune system reaction to the vaccine.

You may be feeling you are the only one who reacts like that to this drug but in fact, this is another myth you need to debunk. Almost about 23% of health care workers who received the immunisation and vaccine reported having severe back pain as well as generalised body pain. For some, it was either one or the other while for others, they experienced both pains at the same time.

Some people even after seeing the effects of the shot decided to opt out for another option which is known as FluMist vaccine. This vaccine isn’t like the typical shot. In fact, it is done using a nasal spray. However, this method as well has its side effects which are typical to it.

Its side effects include Running nose and nasal congestion, low grade fever, sore throat, muscle pain, a decrease in appetite, wheezing due to upper respiratory tract distress, cough, vomiting and so on.

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Although most health practitioners don’t recommend a particular type of vaccine to go for, however, it is advised that pregnant women should avoid the FluMist vaccine. Other people who should also prevent this vaccine due to the number of complications it can lead to are the children under 2years of age, people with compromised or weak immune systems, children who are asthmatic, and adults who are 50years and above.

One interesting fact is that the symptoms of the side effects of this vaccine don’t last so long. According to Dr Peskoz, the symptoms should relieve itself within a day or two, maximum three days and you should feel these symptoms anymore.

There are some rare cases and exceptions, however. These cases occur when there is an allergic reaction to the vaccine. If you are experiencing an allergic reaction to the vaccine, you will experience hives, intense difficulty in breathing, swelling around both the eye and mouth region of the face, weakness and/or dizziness. These symptoms tend to occur a few minutes or at most a couple of hours after this vaccine was given.

If you start feeling sick for a considerable amount of time, then this should be as a result of you picking up another virus or disease which the flu shot you got doesn’t protect you from. Generally, the essence of the flu shot is to protect you from illnesses such as the influenza virus, and so on.

However, this doesn’t mean that whenever you have the flu-like symptoms, it is only the influenza virus that can give those. In fact, there are a host of other illnesses that give off symptoms exactly like the flu.

Such of these viruses include human parainfluenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus otherwise known as RSV, and the coronavirus. These all circulate within the fall, Harmattan and the winter season. Usually, the symptoms of these diseases last for up to 8 days.

What we have been trying to say in essence is that it is generally normal to feel sore and tired with redness and tenderness after getting the flu shot. You could even develop low grade fever and body aches during the first few days after vaccination. Don’t be mistaken; however, this is just your immune system response and not the flu itself.

You really do not need to avoid the flu shot all because you are scared of getting ill. The flu shot prevents you from getting sick. The only excusable reason why you may not be getting the flu vaccine is if you have any severe allergies to the vaccine itself or the substances contained in the vaccine. If you don’t, you are encouraged to get to the nearest clinic and get your flu shot.

You must remember however that a day or two of the discomfort you feel is only a small price to pay for getting the flu vaccine. In case you didn’t know, there are several worse conditions that could generate from getting the flu.

Conditions such as myocarditis (inflammation of the myocardium of the heart), sinus infections, ear problems, pneumonia, brain encephalitis, muscle inflammation also known as myositis, rhabdomyolysis, and so on could be as a result of complications of the flu. Some people can recover from the flu after several days of having it, and some don’t recover and go on to have difficulties, while some can actually die from these complications.

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I’m sure you would agree with me that these flu shot symptoms you get are a little price to pay for being healthy rather than going on to have a majority of other health problems which could eventually take your life. My sincere advice is you walk up to the nearest clinic and save yourself the headache of ever being in the danger of flu complications. Get a shot today

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Deborah Akinola
Wirter, poet and public speaker

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  1. I have a relative who gets very sick each time after getting a flu shot. He tried this several different times, hoping for a better outcome each time, but every single time he became sick just after getting the shot, with very strong flu-like symptoms; not just minor aches and pains. I understand this is not exactly considered a “live” virus in the vaccines, yet why would he get so sick each time? He has since stopped getting flu shots and has not gotten sick with the flu!


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