Flu is not just as simple as suffering from fever, cough, body aches and other symptoms. It is a serious and sometimes life-threatening viral infection that can lead to hospitalization. Flu is contagious and can affect each person differently. Even a healthy person can catch the flu and spread it to others.
There are different forms of the flu including seasonal flu, H1N1 or Swine flu, and bird flu. All forms of flu are caused by different types of viruses. To get protected from different flu viruses, flu vaccination is a must. Yearly flu immunization offers everyone the best protection from the flu. Here is why it is really important to get a flu vaccine.
What is a flu vaccine?
A flu vaccine is a treatment that prevents one from catching the flu and getting sick. It can protect from three different flu viruses. The flu vaccine comes in three different forms which include:
- A shot which can be given into the muscle, usually in the upper arm
- A shot was given under the skin
- A nasal spray
How does a flu vaccine work?
A flu vaccine causes the antibodies to develop in the body around 10 days after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection from the viruses that are present in the vaccine. The viruses that are in the vaccine are inactivated i.e, killed which doesn’t harm a person who gets vaccinated in any way. Though it takes around 10 days for the flu vaccine to work, it can protect from flu for around a year.
Who should get the flu vaccine?
Almost everyone from the age of 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. Some people are more at risk of developing complications from flu than others, these should get a flu vaccine each year for sure:
- Children of age 6 months to 5 years old
- Pregnant women
- Adults of age 65 and older
- People with health conditions which need long-term care facilities.
Who should not get a flu vaccine?
Babies under 6 months shouldn’t get a flu shot. Some people may be allergic to the components present in the flu vaccine. So, one should consult a doctor before getting the vaccination to avoid the risk of allergies.
When should one get a flu vaccine?
The best time to get a flu vaccine is before the flu season starts. As it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the antibodies to develop in the body, one should plan to get vaccinated before the flu season begins to get protected against the flu.
Is it necessary to get a flu vaccine every year?
There are two reasons to get a flu vaccine each year. One, the immune response of the body from vaccination gets declined over time, so an annual vaccine is necessary for optimal protection. Other, every year the flu viruses, change constantly. So, according to the changing flu viruses, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and updated. So, it is really essential to get a flu vaccine every year.
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Can one get the flu from the flu vaccine?
No, one can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine. After vaccination, people may have some side effects that could be similar to cold or flu symptoms. Some of the side effects are:
- Swelling or soreness where you have got the shot.
- Mild fever
What are the symptoms of a severe reaction from a flu vaccine?
In rare cases, a flu vaccine can cause a severe reaction. So, everyone should get their flu vaccine under medical supervision and mention their health history before getting vaccinated. One should consult a doctor right away if they experience any symptoms which include the following after getting vaccinated:
- High fever
- Trouble breathing
- Racing heart
- Swelling around lips and eyes
- Changes in the behavior
Should Pregnant women get the flu vaccine?
It is very important for pregnant women to get the flu vaccine. In pregnant women, the symptoms of the flu get worse quickly. Flu can cause trouble breathing which could be dangerous for both – the mother and the unborn baby. So women who are pregnant should definitely get vaccinated during the flu season.