How to Treat an Adverse Reaction to the Influenza Vaccine
Influenza is a serious and potentially fatal disease that affects the respiratory system. It is also highly contagious, although in most cases it disappears without the need for medication and without complications. Influenza vaccine is usually safe, but some people may experience adverse reactions to the injection. You can manage these negative responses by going to the doctor when it comes to allergic reactions or with home care in mild cases.
Look for Medical Treatment for Serious Reactions
1) Get medical treatment right away if you have a severe allergic reaction.
In rare cases, the flu vaccine can trigger significant or potentially fatal reactions. In general, the symptoms occur within a few minutes until a few hours after the injection. If you suffer from the ailments listed below and these are violent, call 118 or go immediately to the nearest emergency room:
– Respiratory difficulties;
– Hoarseness or dyspnea;
– Oedema of eyes, lips or throat;
– Tachycardia or dizziness.
2) Call your doctor if you have a possible allergic reaction.
You can suffer from serious side effects even if the symptoms are not debilitating or a dangerous allergic response has triggered. These disorders are deserving of professional attention, so call the doctor if you have:
– Fever above 38 ° C;
– Urticaria or oedema located at the injection site;
– The difficulty of breathing or tachycardia;
– Dizziness that lasts more than a day or two;
– Continuous bleeding from the injection site.
3) Undergo treatment to alleviate the symptoms.
The treatments vary depending on the type and severity of the reaction; the doctor can prescribe you medications or let you be admitted to observation. In severe cases you may also receive this type of treatment:
Injection of epinephrine to avoid an anaphylactic crisis;
Oral or injectable antihistamines to manage hives and itching;
Hospital admission in case of cardiovascular reactions or loss of knowledge.
4) Monitor the symptoms carefully.
If the symptoms do not disappear or get worse, call your doctor or go to the emergency room to minimize the risk of an adverse reaction and serious complications.
If you have doubts about the symptoms or side effects, call the doctor: it is always better to prevent than to treat.
Alleviate the mild symptoms at home
5) Recognize common adverse reactions.
The serious ones are rather rare; however, you may experience some symptoms after the injection or after using the nasal spray (the latter method of flu vaccine administration is no longer recommended). By identifying common side effects, you can find the best way to manage them. Here is a short list:
Pain, swelling or redness at the injection site;
– A headache;
– Low fever (below 38 ° C);
– Nausea or vomiting;
– Muscular pains;
– A cough or a sore throat;
6) Take ibuprofen to manage swelling or pain.
Most of the negative effects disappear in a day or two and are usually located at the injection site; it is mostly a pain, redness or slight oedema. By taking a painkiller like ibuprofen you can find some relief and reduce the swelling.
Take an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium; these active ingredients act against pain, swelling and inflammation.
Respect the instructions on the leaflet or those of the doctor regarding the dosage.
7) Apply a cold compress.
The area where the puncture was performed could be pruritic, painful or otherwise sensitive; you could also complain of weakness or dizziness. By placing a cold compress on your face or on the injection site, you can manage these negative symptoms.
If you experience pain, swelling or redness, put a cold towel or ice bag on the part of the body where the vaccine has been inoculated; use this remedy as needed for 20 minutes at a time until the discomfort disappears.
Place a cold wet cloth on your face or neck if you feel dizzy, dizzy or perspiring.
If the skin becomes too cold or loses sensitivity, remove the compress.
8) Apply a compression bandage in case of slight bleeding.
Following the administration of the vaccine, some blood may escape from the wound left by the needle. In some cases, this phenomenon may continue for a couple of days, but you can handle it by pressing an adhesive gauze on the area until the bleeding stops.
If the blood continues to come out after a day or two or the situation gets worse, call the doctor.
9) Sit down and eat something to control vertigo.
Some patients may feel dizzy or feel about to faint because of the injection; it is a disorder that usually lasts no more than one or two days and the best way to handle it is rest. Consuming a small snack while resting increases the blood glucose concentration and makes you feel better.
If you feel dizzy, sit or lie on the floor for a few minutes; loose clothing or sit with your head between your knees to get rid of the illness.
Eat a small snack to increase your blood sugar and reduce your dizziness; choose a healthy snack, like a slice of cheese, toast with peanut butter or apple slices.
10) Reduce fever with paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Many people suffer from a slight fever (below 38 ° C) after the flu shot. This is a normal reaction that disappears in a couple of days; but if you create a lot of discomforts, you can take ibuprofen or paracetamol to lower the temperature and find relief from muscle pain.
Follow the instructions from the leaflet or the doctor’s to treat it with these medicines.
If it does not disappear in two days or exceeds 38 ° C, immediately call the doctor.
11) Use medicines for itching.
It is quite common that the puncture site is itchy; usually, the symptom disappears in one or two days, but it can also be quite annoying. In that case, you can apply a specific drug to find some relief.
Spread a cream with hydrocortisone every 4-6 hours; if the pruritus is very intense, your doctor may prescribe prednisone or oral methylprednisolone.
Take an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or hydroxyzine (Atarax) every 4-6 hours to check for localized pruritus.