The Flu Questions You Only Ask Google
It’s flu season. And as a responsible adult, you’ve made the decision to get a flu shot. Even if your arm still feels a little sore on the drive home, you feel proud about protecting yourself from the flu with the best preventive measure.
A few hours later you aren’t feeling too well…was it that flu shot? You turn to Google to find out what is going on with your body.
To ease your worries, we’re putting all the answers you need in one place. Here are the answers to some of the flu questions (no matter how weird) that you’ve asked Google.
Can the flu shot give you diarrhea?
There are a few potential reactions from the flu shot, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have diarrhea listed as an official side effect. It is a side effect for children ages 2-17 who got the LAIV (live attenuated influenza vaccine – a nasal spray in place of the shot). But this year, the CDC stopped recommending the LAIV as a substitution because it’s not very effective.
If you have diarrhea after your flu shot, it could just be a coincidence. Yes, it’s also a minor flu symptom. But before you blame that on your flu shot, keep reading.
Can the flu shot cause vomiting in pregnant women?
Yes, a pregnant woman might vomit after getting the flu shot. But it’s a side effect for anyone, so pregnancy isn’t a factor. In fact, it’s really important for pregnant women to get a flu shot. Not only does it keep the mother and fetus healthy during the pregnancy, it also protects the baby for the first few months after birth.
Vomiting is also a flu symptom, so make sure it isn’t accompanied by other symptoms like a fever and body aches. But again, don’t blame the flu shot yet. Just keep reading.
Can the flu shot cause cold symptoms?
The regular flu shot won’t cause cold symptoms, but the LAIV (the nasal spray vaccine) can cause them. The symptoms only last for a short time, but you can avoid them by getting the more effective flu shot instead.
Cold symptoms are similar to some flu symptoms, so be on the lookout for a fever and body aches. But don’t confuse the cold and flu!
What are the causes, symptoms, and treatment of the flu?
We’re just going to lump these together. Concentra already has some great resources on the important flu information, but here’s a quick summary.
Causes of the flu:
- Infected people coughing or sneezing (and not covering their mouths)
- Touching a contaminated surface then touching your eyes or mouth
- You can infect other people one day before developing symptoms and seven days after
Symptoms of the flu:
- Sore throat
- Runny/stuffy nose
- Body aches
How to treat the flu:
- Get rest
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Take medicine (over-the-counter drugs to treat symptoms, or prescription anti-viral)
Prevent the flu by getting a flu shot and regularly washing your hands!
Does the flu shot give you the flu?
Alright, here’s the big one.
The flu shot does NOT give you the flu. This is a major misconception, so make sure you know your facts. A flu shot doesn’t inject the flu into your body. Flu vaccines are made with viruses that have been “inactivated” and are not infectious.
However, you still might experience flu symptoms after getting a flu shot. Here are some reasons why:
- You’re ill from another virus that has similar symptoms
- You were exposed to the virus before the shot but didn’t show symptoms until afterwards
- You were exposed to the virus in the 1-2 weeks after your shot before the immunity developed
- You were exposed to a flu virus different from the ones your vaccine was designed to protect against
- The flu shot only reduces your risk of getting the flu, it doesn’t eliminate it. However, those who get the flu shot and later contract the flu have shown to have much milder symptoms and the duration is much less.
Despite chances that you could still catch the flu, getting a flu shot remains the best preventive measure against getting the flu.
Where is the flu shot available?
Vaccine Effectiveness: How Well Do the Flu Vaccines Work? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Possible Side Effects from Vaccines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Misconceptions about Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Flu Shot facts and side effects," Live Science. February 24, 2021.