Ju1y 15, 1976

The Disease

Influenza (flu) is caused by viruses. When people get flu they may have fever, chills, headache, dry cough or muscle aches. Illness may last several days or a week or more, and complete recovery is usual. However, complications may lead to pneumonia or death in some people. For the elderly and people with diabetes or heart, lung, or kidney diseases, flu may be especially serious.

It is unlikely that you have adequate protection against swine flu, since it has not caused widespread human outbreaks in the past 45 years. You may or may not have adequate protection against Victoria flu, although many Americans had this flu last winter. It was responsible for over 12,000 deaths.

The Vaccine

The vaccine will not give you flu because it is made from killed viruses. Today’s flu vaccines cause fewer side effects than those used in the past. In contrast with some other vaccines, flu vaccine can be taken safely during pregnancy.

One shot will protect most people from swine and Victoria flu during the next flu season; however, either a second shot or a different dosage may be required for persons under age 25. If you are under 25 and a notice regarding such information is not attached, this information will be provided to you wherever you receive the vaccine.

Possible Vaccine Side Effects

Most people will have no side effects from the vaccine. However, tenderness at the site of the shot may occur and last for several days. Some people will also have fever, chills, headache, or muscle aches within the first 48 hours.

Special Precautions

As with any vaccine or drug, the possibility of severe or potentially fatal reactions exists. However, flu vaccine has rarely been associated with severe or fatal reactions. In some instances people receiving vaccine have had allergic reactions. You should note very carefully the following precautions:

  • Children under a certain age should not routinely receive flu vaccine. Please ask about age limitations if this information is not attached.

  • People with known allergy to eggs should receive the vaccine only under special medical supervision.

  • People with fever should delay getting vaccinated until the fever is gone.

  • People who have received another type of vaccine in the past 14 days should consult a physician before taking the flu vaccine.

If you have any questions about flu or flu vaccine, please ask.

*USGPO: 1976 – 216-225

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