What is in a flu shot?

What is in a flu shot? People get worried about what’s in a flu vaccine, but many studies over the years have shown that flu vaccines are safe. It is by far the best way to avoid having the flu and spreading it to other men and women. Influenza viruses are constantly changing, which means that the flu vaccine is updated each year.

However, these are the components that commonly comprise flu vaccines.

Influenza viruses

The flu vaccine includes tiny amounts of the viruses it protects from. The presence of the viruses from the vaccine triggers the body's natural defence mechanism to produce antibodies to fight them. This means that the body quickly recognizes them when actually invaded by the virus.


Admittedly, formaldehyde is toxic and potentially deadly in high doses. But, it is present in such tiny amounts in an influenza vaccination that it is completely benign.

Formaldehyde's function in the flu shot is to inactivate toxins out of viruses and bacteria that may contaminate the vaccine through creation, in addition to the viruses naturally present in the vaccine.

Formaldehyde is typically present in the human body also, and is a product of healthy digestive function.

Aluminum Salts

Aluminum has been used in vaccines for over 70 years. Aluminum salts are adjuvants, meaning they assist the body to come up with a stronger immune response against the virus in the vaccine. Because they improve the body's response, this usually means that the vaccine can contain smaller amounts of the virus.

Comparable to formaldehyde, and to many ingredients in the flu shot, the quantity of aluminum within the vaccine is extremely tiny.

This chemical isn't necessarily present in flu vaccines though. There are a few of which are aluminum-free.


Thimerosal is not found in all flu vaccines. To describe exactly, thimerosal is a preservative that retains the vaccine free of contamination by fungi and bacteria. Without this, the growth of bacteria and fungi is common when a syringe has a multi-dose vial (a vial that contains over one dose).

Thimerosal is made from a natural form of mercury called ethylmercury, a secure compound that usually only remains in the bloodstream for a couple of days.

It is different from the typical mercury which can cause disease in massive doses, and from the type found in fish (known as methylmercury), which can remain in the body for years.

Flu shots will only include thimerosal when they're in a multi-dose vial. Single-dose vials, pre-filled syringes, and sinus sprays do not need to incorporate this preservative since contamination is not a problem.

Chicken egg proteins

Proteins from chicken eggs help viruses to grow until they move into the vaccine.

Influenza viruses used in vaccines are usually grown inside fertilized chicken eggs, where the virus creates copies of itself. Following that, the germs are separated out of the egg and placed in the vaccine; this usually means that the final vaccine may contain small quantities of egg proteins.

It is also usually safe for people with egg allergies, but those who have an egg allergy must mention it to the doctor before receiving the shot. Someone with a severe egg allergy might require monitoring by a physician after the injection.

Of course, egg-free flu shots are also available.


Gelatin is used in the flu shot as a stabilizer. Stabilizers keep the vaccine effective from manufacturing until it is used..

Stabilizers also help to protect the vaccine from the harmful effects of heat or freeze-drying. Most influenza vaccines use pork-based gelatin as a stabilizer.


Antibiotics are present in the flu vaccine to help keep bacteria from growing during the manufacturing and storage of the vaccine.

Vaccines do not include antibiotics that might lead to severe reactions, such as penicillin. Instead, vaccines include other forms of antibiotics, such as gentamicin or neomycin. Neomycin is also an ingredient in many topical medicines, like lotions, lotions, and eye drops.

All in all, the above are the common ingredients in a vaccine. As we’ve stated, these ingredients are very much benign, and though some may be harmful in large doses, those ingredients in very very tiny amounts that they don’t pose any threat at all. However, it is always a good idea to consult your physician if you feel that you could have any allergic reactions or concerns.

What is the Flu?

What is the flu or Influenza? As flu season arrives again, it’s probably good to know what this nasty little bug actually is.

Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory disease brought on by a virus. Flu is highly infectious and is normally spread by the coughs and sneezes of an infected individual. You could also catch flu by touching an infected individual, for example, shaking hands. This means that you can spread the influenza virus before you know you are infected.

It typically goes around from the autumn through spring months. There are numerous types, depending on the type of protein that the virus carries. Here are the most common:

Influenza A: One type of seasonal influenza occurring in birds and some mammals.

Influenza B: The other type of seasonal flu that occurs mostly in mammals and seals.

Influenza C: Much milder type of seasonal influenza which may produce local epidemics.

Avian Flu: Spreads from birds to people in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Swine Flu: Known as H1N1, it spreads from pigs to people.

The flu doesn't typically have long-term consequences in most people, and often resolves on its own. However, in rare situations, it can be fatal and causes 10,000 to 50,000 deaths a year. For that reason, it is important to stop it from spreading as far as possible.

Common symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Malaise
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dry cough
  • Less common symptoms of the flu (and more frequent at the common cold) are:
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing

Usually, symptoms persist for approximately 1 week. On the other hand, the sensation of fatigue and gloom can persist for many weeks.

It's worth noting that not every single individual who has influenza is going to have all the symptoms; for example, it's likely to get flu without fever.


The best way to treat the flu is to not get it, via getting vaccinated. However, even with vaccination, you may end up catching the flu.

As flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics cannot help, unless the flu has led to a different illness caused by bacteria. Antivirals may be prescribed in some circumstances.

Painkillers can relieve some of the symptoms, such as headache and body pains. Numerous painkillers are available to buy online. It is very important to compare different products, and only take them under the advice of a health professional.

People with the flu should:

  • Remain at home
  • Avoid contact with others where possible
  • keep warm and rest
  • consume plenty of fluids
  • avoid alcohol
  • stop smoking
  • Eat if able

Prepare a consultation with a doctor for your child.

From the first week of his birth, your child will have to become used to the presence of the white blouses around him. Doctors check the growth and the development of children and diagnose when necessary. You have a role in the efficiency of the doctor evaluation work, how can you prepare?

Before the consultation

You can choose for your child to be followed by a family doctor or a pediatrician. The first can see him without any restriction, while the second is limited to the age of maturity of 18 years old. It is a completely personal choice who will not harm your child.  Anyway, if a more thorough consultation is needed, you will be referred to a specialist or redirected to the E.R.

After you have chosen your specialist and you have obtain an appointment, you can list the questions you have. Those can be regarding the health, the alimentation and the development of your child. You can prepare him by being franc with him on how a consultation goes. Use simple words that will be easy to understand. To reassure him, he can carry with him a blankie or a doll.

When he is older, ask him to speak himself with the doctor and remind him that your presence is not necessary. It will make him feel more at ease to speak with the professional. Above all, to be well prepared for an appointment with the doctor, there is a list of items that you should not forget to bring with you.

During the consultation

The professional has the task of measuring the development and the growth of children. Once in his presence, ask all the questions you have listed prior to the appointment to be sure you maximize the meeting. Make your child participate by asking him directly questions and by letting him answer himself to the doctor so they can create a trust bond. For the smaller ones, don’t be abrupt with them and be reassuring.

The pediatrician and the family doctor do not only take care of the physical health of children. They also evaluate their affective and cognitive development and their alimentation. This makes the consultation the perfect time to discuss with professionals about everything that concerns your child.

Between appointments

After the first year of life of your child, he will see his health professional at least once a year. If you have questions between those consultation, you can always call info-santé/info-social to get the needed info.