In recent years, the flu vaccine has been scrutinized, but here at the Torres Center, we say “no more!” The flu vaccine, like all other vaccines, can make some patients wary. We know that shots are intimidating to many, so we’re going to give you the facts—and only the facts—on the standard flu vaccine.

What is the flu vaccine?

There are two types of flu vaccine: the common shot and the less-common nasal spray.

What are the risks of the flu vaccine?

Each variation of the shot has small risks, but each is different. The shot does not contain a live virus, meaning it cannot give you the flu. It is grown in eggs, however, and this means it can cause an allergic reaction in those who have an egg allergy. The flu and the shot have also been linked to a very rare nerve disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome. This has occurred in a very small number of people, and those affected should consult their doctor before getting a flu shot. The shot can also cause the arm it was given in to be sore or a low-grade fever for several days.

The nasal spray called FluMist is also available. The spray, unlike the shot, contains a live virus, which causes the small chance of a flu infection in patients with a compromised immune system. The spray form of the vaccine is not recommended for anyone with a weakened immune system, including children under two, pregnant women, patients undergoing cancer treatment, and the elderly.

Should I get the nasal spray or the shot?

In most cases, the shot will be your best option. You should not have the nasal spray if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system. Children under two and taking aspirin should also avoid the spray. Patients with wheezing or asthma should avoid the spray, as it can worsen airway diseases.

Need a flu shot? Schedule an appointment with the Torres Center today. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about vaccines or the flu.