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Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Influenza (flu) is a contagious disease that spreads around in the US every year, usually between October and May. The flu is caused by influenza viruses and is spread mainly by coughing, sneezing, and close contact.

Flu strikes suddenly and can last several days. Symptoms vary by age and can include:

  • Fever chills

  • Sore throat cough

  • Muscle aches

  • Fatigue

  • Headache

  • Runny or stuffy nose

Flu can lead to pneumonia and blood infections. Flu can exacerbate other medical conditions such as lung disease. Flu is more dangerous for those individuals 65 years or older or those with a weakened immune system. There is no live flu virus in the flu shot. They cannot cause the flu. There are many flu viruses and each year a new flu vaccine is made to protect against three or four viruses that are likely to cause disease in the upcoming flu season. Even when the vaccine does not exactly match these viruses, it may still provide some protection. Flu vaccine can’t prevent: flu that is caused by a virus not covered by the vaccine or illnesses that look like flu but are not. It takes about 2 weeks for protection to develop after vaccination, and protection lasts through the flu season.

Individuals who should not get the flu vaccine and consult your MD prior to any flu vaccination:

  • If you have any severe, life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of flu vaccine, or severe allergy to any part of this vaccine. If you have a severe reaction call 911 immediately.

  • If you ever had Guillain-Barre Syndrome

  • If you are not feeling well or have a mild illness, you might be asked to come back when you feel better.

Risks of a vaccine reaction

As with any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of a reaction. These are usually mild and go away on their own. Minor problems following a flu shot include: soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given, hoarseness, red or itchy eyes, cough, fever, aches, headache, itching or fatigue. If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1 or 2 days.

Flu vaccine can:

  • Keep you from getting the flu

  • Make flu less severe if you do get it

  • Keep you from spreading flu to your family and other people

What is Fluzone High-Dose influenza vaccine?

Fluzone High-Dose is an influenza vaccine designed specifically for people 65 years and older. Fluzone High- Dose is made to protect against the flu viruses most likely to cause illness for that particular flu season. This vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody) contained in regular flu shots. The additional antigen is intended to create a stronger immune response in the person getting the vaccine.

The safety profile of Fluzone High-Dose vaccine is similar to that of regular flu vaccine, although some adverse events were reported more frequently after vaccination with Fluzone High-Dose.

Fluzone High-Dose is approved for use in people 65 years of age and older. As with all flu vaccines, Fluzone High-Dose is not recommended for people who have had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine in the past.

*Content provided by: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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