The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone above the age of six months should take the flu vaccine for protection against flu or influenza. However certain people who are more prone due to flu risk factors should be particularly more punctual in taking the vaccination. Flu shots are considered very safe.
Who Should Take the Flu Shot?
People who are at a higher risk are
- Children below the age of two years and seniors above the age of 65 years.
- People who have diabetes.
- People with certain medical conditions such as chronic diseases of the heart (eg heart failure), lungs (eg bronchitis, emphysema, bronchial asthma), kidney ( eg renal failure) , liver (hepatitis), blood (leukemia).
- Certain genetic disorders make you susceptible to respiratory tract infections. These disorders include sickle-cell anemia, cystic fibrosis and Kartagener syndrome.
- People under constant stress.
- Pregnant women.
- Obese people.
A more detailed note on the flu risk factors is available here.
Who should take the flu shot
Who Should Not Take the Flu Vaccine – Flu Shot Contraindications
Before taking the influenza vaccine always share your allergic history with your doctor. The following individuals should not take the influenza vaccine:
- People with an allergy to eggs. This is because the flu vaccine is grown in a fertilized chicken egg and contains minute quantities of the egg white protein. So, if you are allergic to eggs, it is very likely that you will develop an allergic reaction to the influenza vaccine. However a recent study published on-line by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology from Hospital Sainte-Justine in Montreal, has confirmed that a very insignificant number of people who are allergic to eggs develop a mild allergic reaction after taking the flu shot. Most of them tolerate the flu vaccine well. The egg protein in the flu vaccine is too minute to give a serious allergic reaction.
- People who have had an allergic reaction to a previously taken flu vaccine,
- People who are hypersensitive to certain antibiotics. Some flu vaccines, not all, contain antibiotics, namely neomycin, polymixin and kanamycin to prevent the chicken eggs from being contaminated by bacteria. If you are allergic to such antibiotics you should refrain from taking the flu vaccine.
- People who are hypersensitive to other ingredients of the vaccine: All vaccines display the label of micro ingredients. Such ingredients in trace may include formaldehyde, sodium deoxycholate, gelatin, betapropionolactone and others.
- People who have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) after having taken the flu shot in the past. GBS is a severe paralytic sickness. It is an acute polyneuropathy disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system.
- Fever. You should not take the flu shot if you have fever. However do consult your doctor in this regard.