Flu vaccine side effects: Three symptoms to look out for – ‘seek urgent medical advice’

Dr Hilary assures flu jab is 'safe as houses' on Lorraine

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With flu season typically lasting from December to March, people are getting their flu jab with the NHS or other providers. The jab is usually injected into a muscle and can cause possible side effects, including three signalling a need for “urgent medical advice”.

Flu has different strains, causing an outbreak during the winter months.

Because of its link to certain months, it’s also referred to as seasonal flu.

There are some people at greater risk of having serious courses and complications linked to the virus.

The flu jab can help lower the risk of getting this virus and offers protection for up to one year, according to Patient.info.

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As with any vaccine, flu jab also has some possible side effects.

Flu jab typically causes “no problems”, but there are some side effects you may experience, Patient.info reports.

Although rare, allergic reactions caused by the jab warrants “urgent medical advice”, the health portal advises.

Here are the warning signs signalling allergic reaction:

  • Breathlessness
  • Swelling
  • Rash.

If you develop any signs like this, you “should seek urgent medical advice”, explains Patient.info.

Allergic reaction isn’t the only side effect of flu vaccine, more common include:

  • Mild soreness, swelling, or redness around the site of the injection
  • Mild fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Muscle ache and headache
  • Blocked or runny nose.

Most of these should pass or settle, but you can also opt for a painkiller recommended by a pharmacist if the unwanted effects bother you, the health portal says.

How is the vaccine administered?

Adults get one dose of the jab every year, as the protection lasts for this time.

It’s also safe to get your flu jab along with your Covid booster or other vaccines, according to a University of Bristol study.

When you’re getting more jabs at the same time, they are usually administered to different arms as separate injections.

In case you suffer from a condition that makes you bleed more easily, then the jab might be administered as an injection underneath the skin.

After getting your jab, you will be asked to stay at the site for several minutes to ensure you don’t develop a bad reaction, states Patient.info.

People with underlying health conditions that may need extra protection might be entitled to a free NHS flu jab.

However, you can also choose to get the vaccine if you want to opt for extra protection this winter.

If you’re not invited, you can book your own appointment with pharmacies like Boots or Lloyds Pharmacy.

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