October 29, 2019

Flu vaccination prevents millions of flu-related illnesses and deaths annually, but vaccination rates are low for many reasons.

One of the common myths that leads people to avoid the flu shot is that they think the shot will give them the flu. But that is simply not true. The virus in the vaccine is not active, and an inactive virus cannot transmit disease. What is true is that you may feel the effects of your body mounting an immune response, but that does not mean you have the flu.

The typical flu season occurs from fall to early spring. The length and severity of an epidemic may vary. Some lucky individuals can get through the season flu-free. But be prepared to be surrounded by sneezing and coughing for a few months out of every year.

Symptoms usually include:

  • coughing
  • fever
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • runny nose

The symptoms that come with the flu can keep you bedridden for a week or more. Flu prevention is key to continue with your daily routine and catch up with events and celebration going through the season.

How does the flu vaccine work?

The flu virus changes and adapts every year, which is why it’s so widespread and difficult to avoid. New vaccines are created and released every year to keep up with these rapid changes. Before each new flu season, federal health experts predict which three strains of the flu are most likely to thrive. They use that information to manufacture the appropriate vaccines.

The flu shot works because it prompts your immune system to produce antibodies. In turn, these antibodies help the body fight off the types of flu virus that are present in the vaccine. After receiving the flu shot it takes about two weeks for these antibodies to fully develop.

Who needs a flu shot?

Some people may be more prone to infection than others. It is suggested that from 6 months of age or older should be vaccinated against the flu.

The shots are not 100-percent effective in preventing the flu. But they are the most effective method to protect against this virus and its related complications.

Are there any side effects to the flu vaccine?

Flu shots are safe for most people. Many people incorrectly assume that the flu vaccine can give them the flu. You can’t get the flu from the flu shot. But some people may experience flu-like symptoms within 24 hours of receiving the vaccine.

Possible side effects of the flu shot include:

  • low-grade fever
  • swollen, red, tender area around the injection site
  • chills or headache

These symptoms may occur as your body responds to the vaccine and builds antibodies that latter will help prevent illness. Symptoms are typically mild and go away within a day or two.


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