Influenza Virus Vaccine Intradermal (Intramuscular)

Influenza Virus Vaccination, also known as a flu jab or flu shot, prompts your body to produce anti-bodies against different strains of influenza, depending on what is determined to be most prevalent that season.

Overview

Each year, all over the world, different strains of influenza virus are spread from person to person, causing dangerous health outbreaks that can be life-threatening. The Influenza Virus Vaccine or flu shot is intended to prevent people from contracting the virus strains that will be most common that flu season. The types of viruses included in the vaccination are determined by the US CDC and the World Health Organization as well as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. These organizations recommend the flu vaccination for almost everyone over six months of age, especially the geriatric population, the very young from six months up to five years old, people with health issues, health care workers and pregnant women.

Influenza is a serious viral disease that can cause people to become extremely ill and sometimes even death. Seasonal vaccinations include antigens for three types of viruses: influenza A 'H1N1, influenza A ' H3N2 and influenza B. There are also quadrivalent vaccinations which protect against the same three strains plus an additional influenza B strain for a total of four. The injection is made up of inactive forms of the virus antigens, which cause the body to create antibodies to protect against them, which typically takes 14 days to complete. It is advised that patients should receive the vaccination against influenza prior to the start of the flu season, which in the US is typically from October through May.

As the body's response from being vaccinated diminishes with time, it is required to renew the Influenza Virus Vaccination every year. Additionally the viruses constantly change and, therefore, so does the formula of the vaccination, which is updated for new strains. Be aware that you could still contract the influenza virus even after being vaccinated against it. Your age, your overall health and the closeness of the match of the strain of virus in the vaccination you receive can all have an impact on the effectiveness of the vaccination. The important consideration to remember is that, even if you do get symptoms of influenza, you will most likely prevent the disease from becoming severe because you've been vaccinated.

Patients may be familiar with the following name brands of influenza virus vaccine:

  • Fluzone
  • FluLaval
  • Flucelvax
  • Fluarix
  • Fluzone Intradermal
  • Fluzone High Dose

Conditions Treated

Influenza virus prevention

Type Of Medicine

Vaccination, preventive

Side Effects

Some patients experience flu-like symptoms in a very mild way even though they have been vaccinated for influenza. Other patients experience more severe reactions that are hypersensitive and may cause adverse health effects if not treated right away. Alert your physician should you have the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Irritable mood
  • Appetite loss
  • Aches in muscles
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing, runny or stuffy nasal passages
  • Vomiting
  • Body pains or aches
  • Chills
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Congested ears or earache
  • Vocal changes or loss
  • Shivering
  • Swollen, puffy face
  • Chest tightness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizzy spells
  • Rapid heart rhythm
  • Rash on skin or itching with hives
  • Swollen patches on sex organs, feet, legs, throat, hands, tongue, face, lips, or eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Swollen lips, eyes or tongue
  • Agitated mood
  • Sudden, severe pains in back, stomach or leg
  • Skin peels, blisters or becomes loose
  • Inflamed, red, swollen injection site with pain or tenderness and bruising
  • Numb, pins and needles, tingling sensations
  • Dry, itching or burning eyes
  • Pains in chest
  • Unsteady, clumsy actions
  • Confused demeanor
  • Drowsy
  • Throat dryness
  • Fainting spells
  • Excessively hot feeling
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Lightheaded
  • Nose bleeding
  • Red, painful, sore, swollen, tender or warm skin
  • Tiny red spots on skin
  • Flushed neck, face or arms and upper chest
  • Spinning sensation
  • Shaking arms, legs, feet or hands
  • Ulcerated white spots on the lips or mouth
  • Uncomfortable, sore stomach
  • Painful stomach
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Bruising or bleeding for no reason
  • Facial muscles are weak
  • Skin or eyes appear yellow

Patients could also experience unusual moments of drowsiness or fatigue after receiving an influenza shot, which doesn't necessarily require medical attention unless it does not subside over time. You may have symptoms that haven't been listed here and, if so, seek medical advice from a trusted professional in case these symptoms become prolonged or bothersome.

Dosage

Your Influenza Virus Vaccine will be administered in a hospital, clinic or pharmacy by a medical professional such as a doctor, nurse or pharmacist. You will typically receive this vaccination into your shoulder muscle.

Shortages of the vaccination occasionally occur and healthy adults will be asked to hold off on their vaccinations until there is more manufactured. If you are waiting for your vaccination, take extra care to wash your hands more frequently especially after using public facilities.

It is recommended that you receive this vaccination annually for maximum protection against the influenza virus. Pediatric patients may need more than one dose and, if so, should keep the scheduled appointment for the second dose on time.

You will receive a patient information leaflet when you receive your Influenza Virus Vaccine, which you should read and comprehend, asking any questions before you receive the vaccination if you have any.

Typical dosage size is 5 milliliters and is comprised of inactivated influenza virus strains as well as delivery agents and solutions to make sure the injection is delivered to your bloodstream properly.

Interactions

Patients who have had severe hypersensitive reactions to the influenza virus vaccination in the past should not receive another vaccination unless specifically advised by their physician. Alert your doctor to any sensitivity to other vaccinations or medications you have experienced in the past as well as any reactions to foods, perfumes, animals, dyes or preservatives.

Some brands of Influenza Virus Vaccine should not be used on patients younger than five years of age. This includes the Afluria brand, which has not been studied for very young patients and determined to be effective or safe. Fluvirin and Flucelvax Quadrivalent are not recommended for children who are younger than 4 years old and Fluarix and the quadrivalent form are not recommended for children less than 3 years old. With few exceptions, most vaccinations for influenza are not recommended for children who are less than 6 months old. Consult your doctor about the appropriate vaccination for your child.

Geriatric patients are considered a high risk group for contracting particularly bad strains of influenza virus and therefore should receive a vaccination, with few exceptions. Your physician will determine the safest, most effective form of the vaccination for you if you are an elderly patient.

Influenza Virus Vaccination is at a low risk of causing adverse health effects on fetal development with regard to its use in women who are pregnant. Women who are breastfeeding also have a low risk of passing on the virus to their infants. These two groups should be vaccinated against the influenza virus unless circumstances prevent it, which should be determined by their physician.

Patients who are taking Rituximab may have an increased risk for certain adverse health effects if they receive the Influenza Virus Vaccine. Let your doctor know if you are taking this drug before being vaccinated to protect the safety of your health.

The use of tobacco products, consumption of alcoholic beverages and ingestion of certain foods may have an adverse effect on how the Influenza Virus Vaccine works for you or may increase the risk of certain symptoms. Consult your doctor and the information leaflet for any risks from these substances.

Avoid taking any other medications for a two week period of time after receiving your Influenza Virus Vaccination unless you discuss them with your physician. This includes any vitamin therapy, herbal or holistic remedies and over-the-counter medications that you take.

Patients with the following health conditions may experience unwanted health effects should they receive an Influenza Virus Vaccine. Let your physician know your full medical history prior to your vaccination, including these conditions, if applicable:

  • Egg allergy, chicken allergy
  • Hemophilia or other bleeding issues
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome or other severe muscle and nerve diseases
  • If you are currently ill including elevated body temperature
  • Immune system issues, medically induced or disease such as HIV
  • Allergy to Neomycin, Polymyxin or Kanamycin may change the brand of vaccination to be used

Warnings

Children who require a second dose of Influenza Virus Vaccination will be scheduled for their next injection when they receive the first. Do your best to keep to this scheduled vaccination appointment, rescheduling only if absolutely necessary and keeping the date as close as possible to the first. Let you doctor know if your child has any adverse health effects or mood changes after receiving the vaccination.

Anaphylaxis is a severe hypersensitive reaction that is at a high risk with vaccination for influenza virus. Symptoms such as a swollen throat or tongue, skin rash or itching and difficulty breathing should be communicated to your physician should they occur after your injection.

The Afluria and the quadrivalent form of the influenza virus vaccine, when given to pediatric patients, have posed a risk for elevated body temperature accompanied by seizures. Be aware of this heightened risk and discuss the use of these brands on your child with your physician if you are concerned.

Patients who have severely elevated body temperatures and symptoms of illness should not receive the influenza virus vaccination until they are feeling better and are symptom-free.

Those who have already contracted a strain of influenza will not experience any lessening of their symptoms by receiving the influenza virus vaccination after the fact. Patients who have already had the flu are encouraged to receive the vaccine after they are well in order to protect them from the other strains, if possible.

Not everyone will be protected from contracting the influenza virus after receiving the vaccination. Some patients do not respond to antigen injection and create no antibodies as a result of vaccination with inert forms of the virus. As there is no way to predict who will not respond, it is encouraged that everyone receives an influenza virus vaccine, if possible, especially if you are part of a high-risk group.

People with hypersensitive reactions to latex or rubber products should let their physician know this, as certain pre-filled syringe forms of the vaccination come in contact with these products and could cause patients to have a reaction upon vaccination.

Patients who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation for cancer treatment or those patients who are receiving a dose of steroids to treat various illnesses should inform their physicians of these facts prior to being given an influenza virus vaccine. The vaccine may not be as effective if you are in treatment with any of these medications, but your physician may still recommend that you get vaccinated as a preventive measure.

Patients who have had life-threatening reactions to the influenza virus vaccine in the past should not receive another vaccination. People who have gelatin or egg sensitivities should avoid vaccination as well, as these two substances are found in many formulations of the injection.

Patients who have had a condition known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which is a disorder of the immune system, should not have an injection of influenza virus vaccine, as it could flare up the condition once again.

In the 1970's, a number of people over the age of 25 contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome after a vaccination of the swine flu strain. While most recovered, the increased risk of contracting this disease has not been pinned down to any one factor and is still warned against today. Be aware of this risk, however low, when receiving an influenza virus vaccination.

Storage

This vaccination is administered only by trained health professionals in a medical setting. Storage and safe administration is the responsibility of the staff under the direction of the manufacturer.

In general, it is recommended that the vaccine be stored in refrigerated conditions and not allowed to freeze. The vaccine should be safely discarded if it has accidentally been frozen. Most brands should be protected from light and some are only effective for 28 days and should be safely disposed of after that time.

Summary

Most people should be vaccinated against the influenza virus for their own safety and the safety of others around them. Each year, the influenza virus causes sweeping illness across every country that can lead to hospitalization and death. Preventing outbreaks of the virus through vaccination has been in place in most countries since the 1930s. If you are in the US, you should be vaccinated against the influenza virus before the season starts in October.

Patients who are severely sensitive to the injection formulation should not receive the vaccination nor should those who are already ill from the influenza or some other virus. Immunosuppressed patients should also avoid being vaccinated unless mandated to do so by their physician. Otherwise, the influenza virus vaccine is recommended for all people, especially the elderly, health care workers, pregnant women and people with health problems whose lives could be compromised if they contract the influenza virus.

Considered to be safe in general, some children experience elevated body temperature and convulsions after being vaccinated for the influenza virus. Other patients experienced infections at the site of injection or drowsiness after their vaccinations, which caused minimum health problems. Any other changes to your health after your vaccination including changes to your mood or demeanor should be made known to your physician in case of an underlying health issue.

Injected into the muscle of your upper arm or shoulder, the influenza virus vaccine will be given to you in a medical setting such as a hospital or clinic or even a pharmacy by a trained medical professional. Some patients will not respond to the antigen injected in the vaccine and produce no antibodies against the influenza viruses, which is rare. Other patients will experience flu-like symptoms, but they will be mild in nature and not typically cause them to be hospitalized.

A syndrome known as Guillain-Barre has been linked to the influenza vaccine since the 1970s, but this has been diminished in nature by the CDC that sites several studies that concluded that modern forms of the vaccine don't have the risk factors typically associated. Nonetheless, it is best to be aware of this risk and to review the patient information leaflet that comes with your vaccination.

Avoid taking other medications, including non-prescription types, for a few weeks after your vaccination unless your doctor has approved them. The use of tobacco products, alcoholic beverages and some foods may be restricted per your doctor's instructions. Follow your physician's indications exactly, especially for children who need to receive two doses of the vaccine. Keep all follow-up appointments as scheduled.