The flu season is fast approaching, which means it’s almost time for the annual flu shot. Getting vaccinated is the best defense against the flu, and we have to protect ourselves and others from getting sick with the influenza virus, and it’s important to do so every year since the strains of the virus tend to differ slightly each season.
Luckily, allergic reactions to the flu shot are extremely rare, only one in every 1.13 million people will develop a severe allergy. Having some mild effects, such as soreness in the muscles or a low-grade fever, is not uncommon and does not indicate an allergic reaction. However, there is one group in particular that is at a higher risk of experiencing an allergic reaction - those who are allergic to eggs. If you have an egg allergy, you might need to take certain precautions to discuss the shot with your doctor.
This is how you identify an allergic reaction to the flu shot and what you need to know about its relation to egg allergies.
The link between flu shots and egg allergies
Even if you suffer from a known egg allergy, it doesn’t necessarily mean you must avoid the flu shot altogether. The CDC instructions say you can still get the shot at your local clinic if you can eat lightly cooked eggs (for example, scrambled eggs) without having a reaction or if you only get hives after eating eggs, without experiencing any other symptoms.
Guillain-Barre Syndrom (GBS) is a condition in which your immune system attacks the nerves in your own body. It manifests itself through a sensation of tingling or numbness that starts in the lower body and works its way up.
It is a widely-spread belief that GBS is a common reaction to the flu shot, but that is a myth. In reality, there is hardly a connection between GBS and an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine; there are only one to two cases of GBS per million shots administered. "You are more likely to get GBS from the flu itself rather than the vaccination," says Dr. Steele.
The bottom line is that the benefits of the flu shot highly outweigh the risks, according to the CDC and several other medical sources. Yet, it is important to be aware of the facts and always consult a professional if you’re in doubt.
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