Influenza Virus Vaccine (Subvirion)
Keeps you from getting sick with an influenza virus ("catching the flu").
Fluvirin, Fluarix, Flulaval, Fluzone
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not receive this vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction to influenza vaccine (flu shot). Make sure your health caregiver knows if you are allergic to eggs or chicken, because you most likely should not receive this vaccine. You should not receive a flu shot if you have certain problems with your nervous system. If you are very sick or have a high fever right now, you will probably need to wait until you are well before your receive this vaccine. This vaccine is not recommended for babies younger than 6 months old.
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose. This medicine is given as a shot into one of your muscles.
- A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
- Sometimes there is not enough flu vaccine for everyone. If this happens and you are a healthy adult, you might need to wait until later in the flu season before getting your vaccination. Or you might not be able to get a vaccination at all.
- If there is not enough flu vaccine, then the vaccine should first be given to people who have the highest risk from the flu. This includes children younger than 23 months old and adults 65 years old and older. Sometimes people between 2 years old and 65 years old are also in the high-risk group if they have certain health concerns, or if they live with or take care of someone who is at high risk. In this case, talk to your doctor to decide if you should receive a flu shot. The exact rules for who should get a flu shot can change from year to year.
- There are special instructions for a child who is younger than 9 years old and who has not had a flu shot before. This child may need to be given two shots. The second shot should be given about one month after the first shot. It is usually best for the child to have received both shots before December.
- You need to get the flu vaccine every year to protect you from the flu.
If a dose is missed:
- Most people need only one dose of this medicine.
- If your child needs a second dose of this medicine, it is very important for your child to receive the second dose on schedule. If you must cancel the appointment, make another appointment as soon as possible.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are using a medicine or treatment that weakens your immune system, such as a steroid or cancer treatment. This vaccine may not work as well if you are also using these medicines. Your doctor may still want you to get the vaccine because it can give you some protection.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor or the person who gives the injection knows if you have HIV or AIDS, cancer, or any problems with your immune system.
- Make sure you health caregiver knows if you have ever had Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS, a severe nerve and muscle problem). Tell your health caregiver if you have bleeding problems or have ever had an unusual reaction to a flu shot, such as severe muscle weakness.
- Some forms of flu vaccine are stored with latex rubber. Tell the person who gives you the shot if you are allergic to latex.
- Tell your doctor or the person who gives the injection knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. A woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding can often still receive the flu vaccine. Many times pregnant women and mothers of young children are encouraged to get a flu shot.
- Your protection from the flu takes about two weeks to develop.
- You still have a small chance of getting the flu even after a flu shot. If you do get sick, your symptoms should be less severe, and you are less likely to develop other illnesses caused by the flu.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
- Fever over 103 degrees F.
- Severe muscle pain or weakness.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Redness, swelling, soreness, or a small lump where the shot was given (should go away after two days).
- Mild fever, tiredness, muscle pain, or rash (should go away after two days).