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I am allergic to the flu vaccine. What can I do to take precautions during the flu season?

We recently received several questions about allergies to eggs and vaccines, some related to the flu vaccine and others to potential coronavirus inoculation. Most flu vaccines are developed in eggs, which means that there may be a retained egg protein in the shot you receive.

The first thing you need to do is talk to your doctor to see if you can actually get the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that egg allergy, which is severe enough to prevent you from getting the vaccine, is extremely rare.

Even people with allergies so severe that they have had “necessary epinephrine or other emergency medical intervention”

; from a previous egg reaction can still get a licensed flu vaccine, according to the CDC. It should be given in a medical setting, such as a doctor’s office, clinic, health department or hospital, so that you can be monitored for a reaction and treated if necessary.

You can ask your doctor about two licensed influenza vaccines for this season, which according to the CDC do not contain eggs: Flublok Quadrivalent and Flucelvax Quadrivalent.

There is one circumstance where the CDC recommends not getting the flu. “A person who has previously experienced a severe allergic reaction to an influenza vaccine, regardless of the component suspected of being responsible for the reaction, should not receive the flu vaccine again,” the agency wrote.

If you’re one of those cases, Linda, you need to be more careful about spreading germs when the weather gets colder and protect yourself from them – frankly something we all need to do. We have learned a lot from the last eight months. Now we wear masks. We wash our hands more and limit close contact with other people. All of these things will also help reduce flu transmission in the fall and winter.

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