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Symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 can range from mild to severe, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and both illnesses can cause fatigue, body aches, fever, chills, cough, or headaches. (Credit: Getty Images)

DENVER (KDVR) – Cold weather is fast approaching, and with it comes flu season. And while the COVID-19 vaccine is on the minds of many, it’s also that time of year to get the flu shot.

The flu is caused by several different strains of viruses. Influenza A and B are the ones that spur the flu season.

Symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 can range from mild to severe, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and both illnesses can cause fatigue, body aches, fever, chills, cough, or headaches. Shortness of breath, runny nose, and loss of taste or smell are more common with COVID-19.

The CDC recommends that almost everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot by the end of October. For people with heart disease, the flu shot may reduce the risk of dying from heart problems and any other cause, according to a study published in March in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The influenza strains evolve, the vaccines are therefore reformulated each year. This year’s vaccines are designed to protect against the four influenza viruses most likely to spread over the next season.

If you plan to get the flu shot, you may experience side effects. The CDC said the good news is that the side effects are usually mild and go away within a few days.

Here are the common side effects of the flu shot, according to the CDC:

  • Pain, redness and / or swelling suddenly
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches
  • The flu shot, like other injections, can sometimes cause you to faint.
  • The CDC also said that some studies have found a possible small association between the injectable influenza vaccine and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

The CDC has said that with any vaccine, you should watch for any unusual conditions, such as a high fever, changes in behavior, or signs of a severe allergic reaction after being vaccinated.

Here are the signs of a serious allergic reaction, according to the CDC:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Hoarseness or wheezing
  • Swelling around the eyes or lips
  • Urticaria
  • Pallor
  • Weakness
  • Fast heartbeat or dizziness

Life-threatening allergic reactions to the flu vaccine are rare, the CDC said. If you are having a severe allergic reaction, the signs will most likely appear a few minutes to a few hours after getting the vaccine.

Despite the possible side effects, the CDC says the flu shot is “the first and best way to reduce your chances of getting the flu and passing it on to others.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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