The flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself from the flu. It’s safe, has few side effects, and works best when you get it early in the season.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated each year. So read on to learn more about the flu shot.
What Is Flu Shot?
The flu vaccine is also referred to as the “flu shot“. Since most flu vaccines are administered directly under the skin, they are known as shots. However, one influenza vaccine can be inhaled through the nose.
Over the years, various influenza vaccines have been developed. Recommendations alter annually due to the virus’s cyclical nature.
Each year, specialists rely on research to determine which influenza viruses will be most common—this aids in deciding which immunizations are necessary.
Why Is Getting The Flu Vaccine So Important?
The flu vaccine is important for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, it helps protect you from getting sick. While the flu vaccine isn’t 100% effective, it does help prevent you from developing symptoms if you are exposed to the disease. This can be especially helpful for those who have compromised immune systems and can’t get vaccinated for other medical reasons.
The flu vaccine also protects others around you who may not be able to get vaccinated. For example, children under six months old can’t receive the flu vaccine (and even older children may not be able to receive one).
If they’re in close contact with someone who has been vaccinated, however, they’ll be less likely to contract the virus—which means they won’t put other people at risk of contracting it either!
Finally, getting vaccinated protects yourself financially: if you get sick because you haven’t been immunized against the flu yet this year, your doctor’s visits and medications could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars over time!
How Does The Flu Shot Work?
The flu shot is a vaccine, which means it contains dead or weakened versions of the virus. The vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce antibodies against the virus.
Antibodies are proteins that help fight off viruses and bacteria by identifying them in your body, then attacking them so they can’t get inside cells.
If you have a healthy immune system, getting vaccinated against influenza each year will help protect you from catching the flu if someone around you has it (or if there is an outbreak).
What Are The Benefits Of Flu Vaccination?
Are flu shots necessary? Well, there are many benefits of flu vaccination.
It reduces your risk of getting the flu. The flu shot reduces your risk of getting a serious case of the flu, which can make you feel horrible and can lead to hospitalization or even death.
The vaccine can also reduce the severity of symptoms if you get sick. If you’re vaccinated and still get sick, it may be less severe than if you weren’t vaccinated at all or had only been partially vaccinated (which is sometimes called “partial immunity”).
Vaccination can also help protect others from catching the flu since they won’t be exposed to it as much in their daily lives—especially important for people working with children or elderly patients who are at high risk for complications from influenza illness.
What Flu Vaccines Are Available?
The flu vaccine is available in three forms: high-dose, intradermal and nasal spray.
High-Dose Flu Shot
The high-dose flu shot contains more antigens than the standard flu shot. This means that your immune system will respond more strongly to the vaccine and be able to fight off the virus more quickly if you get sick.
Intradermal Flu Shot
The intradermal flu shot is approved for use in people 18 through 64 years old who are at risk for severe illness from influenza. It’s also approved for use in children 6 months through 8 years old who are at risk for severe illness from influenza.
The needle used with this vaccine goes into your skin instead of into your muscle like regular shots do, so it may hurt less than other flu shots do—but it still may not feel great!
Nasal Spray Vaccine
The nasal spray vaccine has been shown to work well in children 2 years through 8 years old and young adults, 18 through 49 years old who are healthy but have not had a flu shot before
When Should I Get The Flu Shot?
For those wondering, how often should you get a flu shot or when can you get the flu shot? The flu season is from October to May, but in the southern hemispheres, the flu season is from November to April. The season usually starts between December and March.
Flu vaccines are made each year based on influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during that year’s flu season.
Because of this, it’s not possible for anyone to know exactly which strains will circulate in a given year until after they’ve been identified in circulation by public health laboratories.
High-Risk Groups For Flu
High-risk groups for flu include:
- People with severe or long-term medical conditions (e.g., heart disease, cancer, diabetes)
- Older adults (65 years and older)
- Children younger than 5 years of age
- Adults between the ages of 18 and 64 with certain health conditions (e.g., heart disease, lung disease like asthma)
Who Should Get A Flu Shot?
Most people should get flu vaccines.
- For persons of various ages, several flu vaccines are permitted. Everybody has to have the proper vaccinations for their age.
- Standard-dose inactivated influenza vaccines are available for those as young as 6 months old.
- Only adults are permitted to receive some immunizations.
For instance, the adjuvanted and high-dose inactivated vaccinations are approved for those 65 years of age and older, while the recombinant flu vaccine is licensed for those 18 years of age and older.
- Flu vaccination is permissible for expectant mothers and those who have specific chronic medical conditions.
- Anyone allergic to eggs can receive a flu vaccination.
Who Should Not Get A Flu Shot?
The following should not get a flu shot:
Previous Bad Reaction
If you’ve had a previous bad reaction to the vaccine, talk with your doctor about getting a different type of flu shot.
If you have an egg allergy, talk to your doctor about getting the flu shot without the egg protein.
If you have a mercury allergy, talk to your doctor about getting the flu shot without mercury.
Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
A person with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) experiences muscle weakness and occasionally paralysis as a result of their immune system harming their nerve cells. GBS symptoms can occur, and they typically endure for a few weeks.
The data about the link between GBS and getting a flu shot changes from flu season to flu season. If there is a higher risk of GBS after getting a flu shot, it is small—about one to two more cases of GBS for every million doses of flu vaccine given.
If you have a fever, wait until the fever has gone away before getting vaccinated.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Getting The Flu Shot?
Vaccines can have side effects, just like any other medical product. The majority of flu vaccine side effects are minor and fade away on their own in a few days.
Typical effects of the flu shot include:
- Puffiness, redness, or pain where the shot was administered
- Muscle pain
Does The Flu Vaccine Work Right Away?
The flu vaccine is one of the safest and most effective ways to protect yourself from contracting the flu. However, it takes about two weeks after you’ve been vaccinated for your body to start producing antibodies against the virus.
So if you’re vaccinated in December and get sick in January, that doesn’t mean your vaccination didn’t work—it just means it hasn’t kicked in yet.
What Kind Of Protection Does The Flu Vaccine Offer?
Though vaccine effectiveness (VE) varies, recent research indicates that influenza vaccination lowers the risk of influenza disease in the general population by 40% to 60% during seasons when the majority of circulating flu viruses are well-matched to those used to produce flu vaccines.
How Long Does The Flu Shot Last?
The flu shot is designed to stimulate your immune system to develop antibodies against the flu virus. These antibodies will then circulate in your blood and protect you from getting sick.
To answer how long the flu vaccine lasts, the amount of time that the shot lasts varies from person to person, but it’s generally around 10-12 months before you need a new one.
If you get sick with the flu before then, it’s likely that your body hasn’t developed enough antibodies yet to protect you from the infection.
Do You Need To Take A Flu Shot Every Year?
Should you get a flu shot every year? Yes, you should.
The flu is a highly contagious viral illness that can spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone over 6 months old get the vaccine each flu season as it reduces the risk of getting sick with the flu.
The vaccine is updated annually to account for changes in circulating viruses that could cause illness; however, there may be some limitations depending on an individual’s age or health condition because certain groups are more vulnerable than others.
Can I Lower My Risk Of The Flu Without Getting A Flu Shot?
You can take steps to protect yourself from the flu without getting a flu shot:
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Throw used tissues in the trash after each use; if possible, put them into a covered trash container.
- Do not blow your nose into your hand because it could spread germs to other people who may touch the same object as you did while they were contaminated with germs from your nose secretions!
- It’s also important that people do not share items such as drinking glasses, plates, forks/spoons/knives, etc. This spreads germs quickly among large groups of people where even one infected person may pass along the virus without knowing what he or she has done!
- Stay home from work or school if sick (call ahead). This will help prevent the spreading of viruses, like influenza (the flu), through close contact with others.
Does The Flu Vaccine Interfere With The Covid-19 Vaccine?
Seasonal influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are two distinct illnesses. SARS-CoV-2, a new coronavirus, is the cause of COVID-19. Influenza viruses are to blame for the illness.
Your body’s immune system produces antibodies that defend you against influenza as a result of receiving a flu vaccination. The antibodies your body produces to fight an illness brought on by the new coronavirus are not the same as these antibodies.
An antibody test to determine whether your body’s immune system has ever battled a COVID-19 infection looks for antibodies specific to the novel coronavirus. It doesn’t check for flu-specific antibodies.
The genetic material particular to the novel coronavirus is searched for during a diagnostic test to determine whether you now have a COVID-19 infection. There is no search for influenza viruses.
In other words, having received a flu vaccination in the past will not result in a false positive test result for either test, whether you are being checked for a COVID-19 infection now or to see if you previously had COVID-19.
In conclusion, we would like to say that if you are at a high risk of contracting the flu or are prone to developing complications from it, then it is highly recommended that you get your flu shot.
Get hospital-level care and quick medical attention from skilled emergency physicians from Silverlake ER in Pearland, TX, to protect you and your family from the flu.
We hope this article helped you understand what the flu shot is and whether it could benefit you!