Influenza, or the flu as it is more commonly known, is a viral illness. Influenza is a potentially serious disease. It can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Symptoms vary from mild to severe. The severity of the flu differs from year to year. Healthy people can become sickened by the flu and transmit it to others. But young children, elderly individuals and people with certain medical conditions are at greater risk of suffering serious complications from it.
The best way to reduce the risk of catching the flu and spreading it to others is to receive an annual flu vaccine. Vaccines are available either as an injection or a nasal spray. The more people who get the vaccine in a community, the less the illness spreads.
How do the flu vaccines work?
After injection of the flu vaccine, it stimulates the body to produce of antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that provide immune defense against the illness. It takes the body about 2 weeks to generate antibodies after receiving the influenza vaccine.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The trivalent influenza vaccine protects against two types of influenza A (H1N1) and (H3N2) and one type of influenza B. Quadrivalent vaccines protect against the three types of influenza viruses accounted for in the trivalent vaccine plus another strain of influenza B.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get the influenza vaccine every season. Different types of influenza vaccines are appropriate for different groups of people. Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications. For example, people who work with or around children or sick individuals should strongly consider getting annual influenza vaccinations.
When should I get vaccinated?
Ideally, the best time to receive the influenza vaccine is at the start of flu season. Influenza outbreaks may begin as early as October and typically peak in January or later. Receiving the influenza vaccine as early as possible or just prior to the beginning of the season works best.
Who should not get the vaccine?
Factors that can determine a person’s suitability for vaccination, include a person’s age, health (current and past) and any allergies to the influenza vaccine. Infants under the age of 6 months old are not to take the shot.
Where can I get a flu vaccine?
The influenza vaccine are widely available. Even if you don’t have a regular doctor or nurse, you can get the vaccine. It’s available at places such as, a health department, pharmacy, urgent care clinic, and often your school, college health center, or workplace.
Can I get seasonal flu even though I got a flu vaccine this year?
Yes. It is possible to get the flu even though one has gotten the vaccine. The influenza vaccine every season serve two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time. Second, because the flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the vaccine is reviewed each year and updated. This keeps up with the changing viruses. For the best protection, everyone 6 months and older should get vaccine annually.
What are the benefits of flu vaccination?
- Offers you protection and those around you from getting the influenza.
- Additionally, the influenza vaccine helps protect vulnerable populations in the community such as infants, young children, elderly adults, and those with chronic health conditions.
- The influenza vaccine helps protect against hospitalization and other potentially serious complications of influenza.
What side effects can occur after getting a flu vaccine?
While the influenza vaccine cannot give you influenza illness, there are some side effects of getting the shot or a nasal spray influenza vaccine.
The influenza shot containing killed (inactivated) viruses may cause minor side effects such as redness, swelling, and soreness at the site of the injection, a low-grade fever, and body aches.