The Influenza or flu vaccine protects against the influenza virus. Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and if left untreated or based on the severity, it can lead to death. The “flu season” changes every year and so does the vaccination. Though the elderly and very young are are more susceptible to contracting influenza, even healthy people are at risk and can get very ill and spread the disease.
What exactly is the flu?
The flu (aka influenza) is a respiratory illness caused by either influenza A or B virus. The virus spreads through the body and can cause a high fever along with body aches, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. The flu can typically last for several days to a week, depending on how soon medical attention is sought.
How is the flu spread?
Since the virus is respiratory, any fluids or secretions from the lungs that come in contact with another person can cause the virus to spread. Contamination in a common or public place means particles or droplets in the air containing the flu virus are inhaled by another person.
When is flu season?
Flu season is when the virus is more common. The flu season in the United States is typically fall through early spring. However, the flu can be contracted at any point throughout the year.
How does the flu shot work?
The flu shot is a vaccine that is injected into the arm. Another method is a mist that is sprayed into the nose, preferred mostly by children. The components in the flu vaccine cause antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza. The vaccine also helps diminish the severity of symptoms if the body still contracts the influenza virus. The vaccine protects against three flu viruses that are most common for a given season. The vaccine in a flu shot changes or switches each year based on which of the strands is more common in the upcoming season.
Am I eligible for the flu shot?
The Center for Disease Control recommends that all persons, especially young children (ages 5 and under) and elderly persons (age 65 and older), get vaccinated. People who work in the medical industry or those who may be around people who are sick or may easily contract the flu are also highly recommended to get the flu shot. Some medical centers require all personnel to get the flu shot.
People who have an egg allergy should see their healthcare provider and seek a vaccination that does not contain any egg proteins. However, studies now show that people with an egg allergy may still be eligible to take the standard flu vaccinations that contain egg protein, but it is recommended to seek medical attention prior to doing so.
People who have had a life-threatening allergy to a prior flu shot.
People who have an allergy to any ingredient in the vaccination.
People with a life-threatening allergy to eggs.
Infants less than 6 months of age.
To protect yourself and your family from the flu this flu season, call or visit The Urgent Care.