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The Importance Of Getting The Flu Shots

By ChemistsWorld On 25 Sep 2018

Getting a flu shot often protects an individual from coming down with the flu. And although the flu shot doesn’t necessarily always provide total protection, it is still worth getting.

Influenza is a respiratory infection that might cause some serious complications, particularly to the older adults, young children and people with some medical conditions. Influenza vaccines — although not 100 percent effective — are the best way to prevent the misery of the flu and the accompanying complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that every child 6 months of age or older be vaccinated annually against the influenza.

Here are the answers to some of the common questions about the flu shots:

The availability of the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is made by the private manufacturers and takes around six months to produce. The availability of the flu vaccine depends on when production gets completed, but usually, shipments begin sometime in the month of August. Nurses and doctors are encouraged to begin vaccinating people as soon as the flu vaccine becomes available in their areas.

It takes around two weeks to build an individual’s immunity after a flu shot, but one can benefit from the vaccine even if they don’t get it until after the flu season begins. However, an individual can still protect himself against late flu outbreaks if they get the vaccine in February or later.

Why there is a need to get vaccinated every year?
Because flu viruses evolve so instantly, last year’s vaccine may not protect an individual from this year’s viruses. New flu vaccines are released each year to keep up with the rapidly adapting flu viruses.

When an individual gets vaccinated, their immune system produces the antibodies to protect them from the viruses included in the vaccine. But, antibody levels might decline over time — another reason to get a flu shot each year.

Who must get the flu vaccine?
The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccinations for every individual aged 6 months or older. Vaccination is mainly important for people at high risk of influenza complications, including:

  • Young children
  • Pregnant women
  • Older adults

Who shouldn’t get a flu shot?
Check with the doctor before receiving a flu vaccine if:

  • You are allergic to eggs. Most types of the flu vaccines contain a small amount of egg protein. If you have a mild egg allergy — you only get the hives from eating eggs, for instance — you may receive the flu shot without any additional precautions. If someone has a severe egg allergy, they should be vaccinated in a medical setting and be supervised by a doctor who is able to recognize and manage the severe allergic conditions.

There are also flu vaccines that do not contain the egg proteins, and are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for use in people aged 18 years and older. Consult the doctor about your choices.

  • You had a severe reaction to a past flu vaccine: The flu vaccine is not advisable for anyone who had a severe reaction to a past flu vaccine. Check with the doctor first, though. A few reactions may not be related to the vaccine.

Can the risk of flu be reduced without getting the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is the best defense against the flu, but there are some additional steps you can take to help protect yourself from the flu and other viruses. These steps are:

  • Use an alcohol-based sanitizer on the hands if water and soap aren’t available.
  • Wash the hands often and thoroughly with water and soap.
  • Avoid crowds when the flu is most prevalent in the area.
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth whenever possible.

You can also help avoid the spread of the flu by staying at home if you do get sick.