Autumn is upon us, bringing with it something everyone could do without: flu season. 

With Covid thrown into the mix as well, it's important to protect yourself as much as possible. 

Like Covid, experts are encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this winter with certain groups offered it for free on the NHS.

Society has become pretty familiar with vaccines this year, so you perhaps know that side effects after a jab are possible. 

The same is true of the flu vaccine, but the good news is that they normally don't last very long and are usually much milder in comparison to actually catching the flu. 

Here's what you need to know about the flu vaccine side effects and how to treat them...

What are the side effects of the flu vaccine? 

According to the NHS, side effects of the flu vaccine can include: 

  • muscle aches
  • tenderness, swelling and/or redness at the injection site
  • headache
  • fever (temperature 38°C or above)
  • feeling generally unwell

A fever is most likely to develop within the first 48 hours after the flu jab and should usually go away within 48 hours.

If the fever starts 48 hours after the flu vaccine, it is unlikely to be a side effect of the jab and could be Covid, so you should self-isolate and book a PCR test.

How to treat the side effects of the flu jab?

Generally the side effects should only last a day or so, however there are still some tips to treat them. 

If you have a sore arm from the jab, the NHS recommends continuing to move your arm regularly. 

Taking a painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may also help.

How long does it take the flu vaccine to work?

The flu vaccine can take between 10-14 days to work. 

Like the Covid vaccine, it may not completely prevent you from catching the flu but will likely mean you have much milder symptoms if you do get ill. 

It also means that you are much less likely to pass the flu on to other people.