Categories: Vaccine

Side Effects of the Flu Vaccine and How to Relieve Them

Discover the Side Effects of the Flu Vaccine and How to Relieve Them.

The most common side effects of the flu vaccine usually appear shortly after the flu shot is given and include pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site, as well as fever, muscle pain, and headache.

These reactions are mild and usually appear a few hours after vaccination, improving in 2 to 3 days without the need for any specific treatment. Even so, some cares allow alleviating each type of side effect.

However, some serious reactions such as allergies, high fever, fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, weakness or paralysis in the body can also appear; In these cases, it is important to seek medical help.


The most common side effects that can be caused by the flu vaccine are:

1. Pain at the application site

One of the most common side effects that can occur with the flu vaccine are reactions at the site of the flu vaccine, such as pain, redness, or swelling.

This can occur up to 72 hours after vaccination and is generally more common in people over 65 years of age.

How to relieve it:A cold compress should be applied to the arm where the vaccine was placed, in the first 24 to 48 hours after vaccination.

In situations where the pain is very intense, the redness is in a large area of the arm or the person has difficulty moving it, you should see a doctor immediately.


2. Headache or muscle pain

Headache or muscle pain may appear about 6 to 12 hours after vaccination and usually improves within two days. Apart from that, some people may also have joint pain.

How to relieve it: You must remain at rest and drink plenty of fluids. In situations where the pain is very severe, pain relievers prescribed by the doctor, such as paracetamol or dipyrone, for example, can be administered.

3. Fever

Another common reaction to the flu vaccine is a mild fever of up to 38ºC, considered normal after vaccination, and which can be accompanied by chills, fatigue and excessive sweat production; however, these are usually transient symptoms that appear 6 to 12 hours after vaccination and disappear within 2 days.

How to relieve it: you should drink plenty of fluids to keep the body hydrated, stay at rest and, if these symptoms cause a lot of discomfort, you can take analgesics and antipyretics under medical indication, such as paracetamol or dipyrone, for example.

Less common side effects of flu vaccine

Although less common, the flu vaccine can also cause more serious reactions that need immediate medical attention, such as:


•Very high fever, above 39 ºC;

•Itching, hives, or skin lesions,  which can occur all over the body;

•Serious allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock, which may appear at the time or a few hours after the vaccination with symptoms of fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, dizziness or even heart attack. See  other symptoms of anaphylactic shock ;

•Guillain-Barré syndrome , with symptoms of weakness and paralysis throughout the body, and can develop in people who already had the syndrome in the past, being important to inform the doctor who already presented this condition so that he can evaluate the possibility of applying or not the vaccine;

•Inflammation of the blood vessels, including those present in the kidneys, lungs and heart, which can cause symptoms of malaise, fatigue, fever, loss of appetite and weight loss;


•Swelling of the glands in the neck, armpits and groin, due to alterations in the lymphatic system.

When some of these serious reactions are suspected, it is important to seek immediate medical help or go to the nearest emergency station.

Is it safe to take the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine together?

The effects of taking the COVID-19 and flu vaccine together are not yet known, for this reason it is recommended that a minimum period of 15 days be allowed between each vaccine.

Some health organizations recommend giving priority to the vaccine against COVID-19, in case of having the opportunity to receive vaccines in very close periods, and subsequently the flu vaccine.

In the case of vaccines against COVID-19 that require 2 doses of administration at least 1 month apart, as is the case with the Pfizer or Coronavac vaccine, the two doses of that vaccine must first be performed and then You can receive the flu vaccine, respecting the interval of 2 weeks from the 2nd dose.


Vaccines that require a longer interval between doses, such as the Astra Zeneca vaccine, the flu vaccine can be administered between the 2 doses, provided that the period of 2 weeks from the 1st has been respected.

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