Who Should Get Flu Shots?

Flu season is upon us once more. The United States Centers or Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone who is six months of age or older should receive an annual influenza vaccination. Flu shots are especially recommended for pregnant women and individuals with chronic health conditions.1 Those who are younger than six months old or have severe, life-threatening allergies to the vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine, including gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients, should not get the flu vaccine. Individuals with egg allergies, who have experienced only hives following vaccine administration, are appropriate candidates for the flu vaccine. Those with reactions to eggs other than hives, including angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, or recurrent emesis, or those who have required epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention in the past may also safely receive a licensed and recommended flu vaccine, but should do so in an appropriate facility under licensed medical care.2

Separately, the nasal spray vaccine is approved for use in people 2 to 49 years of age who are healthy and not pregnant.1 Individuals who should not get the nasal spray flu vaccine include the following: 1) those under the age of two years or older than 49 years, 2) pregnant women, 3) those with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or to a previous dose of any influenza vaccine, 4) pediatric patients (aged 2–17 years) who are receiving aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications, 5) those with an immunocompromised status, 6) pediatric patients (aged 2–4 years) who have asthma or who have had a history of wheezing in the past 12 months, 7) those who have taken influenza antiviral drugs within the previous 48 hours, and 8) those who care for immunocompromised individuals who require a protected environment.1

Before receiving the nasal spray flu vaccine, talk yo your doctor if you have asthma, an underlying
medical conditions that might put you at higher risk of flu complications, moderate or severe illness with or without fever, or Guillain-Barré Syndrome within six weeks following a previous dose of influenza vaccine.1

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