Swine Flu: Shots, Germy Kids and Other Questions

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Jessica Synder Sachs on Nov 3, 2009 at 11:37AM

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Swine Flu: Shots, Germy Kids and Other Questions

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Can Vaccines Be Dangerous?

Q: If you get the flu shot, can you can get sick from it? Every time my daughter gets the flu shot she gets sick. Last year she didn't get the flu shot and she did not get sick. So what is the real truth?

Dr. Tanya: Such stories are common. But the flu shot does not contain live virus and so cannot give anyone the flu. However, a flu shot sometimes produces mild symptoms such as slight fever, mild achiness, and maybe a feeling of being “off” for a day or two. That is not the flu. That’s your body reacting to the vaccine and forming protective antibodies. Anyone who has actually had the flu knows that true flu symptoms are far, far worse.

Also it’s not uncommon to catch a cold after a flu shot. After all, we tend to get our seasonal flu shots right around the start of cold season. We should also make sure we’re all talking about the same thing. The “flu” refers to influenza, a respiratory infection. The so-called “stomach flu” is something entirely different—a stomach virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting. Kids certainly get both.

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