Influenza infection (caused by influenza types A and B) is one of the most serious airway infections.
The seasonal flu shot protects against three to four common influenza viruses for each upcoming season.
1) Why flu infection is so dangerous?
Almost 5-20% of the United States population gets sick with this virus every year. Moreover, around 900,000 people are hospitalized each year for flu complications.
The predicament with treating influenza is that the virus frequently changes its character. Therefore, regular annual vaccinations are important in preventing flu-related illnesses.
Often, disease prevention is a more efficient way of managing illness as opposed to waiting until the disease happens.
2) How does flu vaccine work?
Flu vaccine stimulates the body to produce proteins (antibodies) directed against the flu virus. Thus, these proteins protect the body against flu infection.
3) How long does it take for the flu shot to work?
It takes around 14 days for the flu vaccine to provide some protection against the specific influenza viruses. So that’s why it’s important to get the shot early in the flu season to ensure early protection.
4) When is the influenza season?
The influenza season starts in the fall and lasts until February.
5) Does Flu shot contain a live virus?
The flu vaccine contains an inactivated flu virus and therefore it can’t cause influenza infection.
6) What is in the flu shot?
Thimerosal (only in
of flu vaccine)
To keep the vaccine effective after
To grow enough of the virus or bacteria to
make the vaccine
To kill viruses or inactivate toxins during the
To prevent contamination by bacteria during
the vaccine manufacturing process
To help boost the body’s response to the vaccine
7) Can you get sick from the flu shot?
The flu vaccine shouldn’t give you the flu but it could cause upper respiratory infection, cough and nasal congestion that are milder than real influenza.
8) Who should get flu shot?
According to the experts, everyone older than 6 months should receive a flu vaccine every season.
9) Who should not get a flu shot?
Children younger than 6 months and people with a severe and life-threatening reaction to flu vaccine are among people who shouldn’t receive a flu shot.
10) Egg allergy and flu vaccine
The flu vaccine, marketed under the name Flublok, doesn’t have any ingredients such as Thimerosal, antibiotics, egg protein or latex.
Furthermore, according to the CDC recommendation anybody who can eat lightly cooked eggs without adverse reactions can get any licensed flu vaccine. For more information, please read this article.
11) Flu vaccine and pregnancy
Pregnant women would benefit from a flu vaccine. CDC doesn’t recommend administering a nasal spray (that contains a live virus) in pregnant women.
Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of hospitalization in pregnant women by almost 40%.
12) Flu vaccine cons and pros
The flu shot is the only vaccine that requires an annual administration because the character of the influenza virus changes every year. As a result, a shot that was effective last year may not be effective this year.
Moreover, the effectiveness of the seasonal flu vaccine is limited to 40% to 60%. In other words, getting the flu shot reduces the risk of catching flu by 40% to 60%–not even close to the optimal 100% effectiveness.
The flu vaccine has shown to be powerful despite its low rate of effectiveness (40 to 60%). The annual flu vaccination shown to prevent millions of flu-related doctor’s visits, thousands of hospitalizations and risk of death.
Is flu shot bad for you?
The facts are clear. Flu shot is effective in reducing the chance of getting sick with flu.
But in some patients, getting a flu shot could lead to adverse effects.
You could get soreness, headache, fever, nausea and muscle aches from getting the flu shot and the symptoms could last for a few days.
However, if you don’t get the flu vaccine and you get sick with flu. Then you might end up with fever, weakness, muscle pain, and in some cases pneumonia lasting for few weeks. Often, most people infected with the flu virus become dysfunctional.
Don’t forget that depending on the severity of your influenza infection you might end up in the hospital as well. It’s all about weighing the risks and benefits of whatever you do.
I hope the above facts will help you in making the right decision. Please go down to the comments and let me know what you think about getting a flu vaccine. Do you agree with the mandatory vaccination of the general population?
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