The Truth about Annual Flu Vaccinations

Key Facts1

The common flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that affect the nose, throat and lungs. The strength of the illness varies from person to person and can range from mild to severe; in extreme cases the flu can cause death.

Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny or Stuffy Nose
  • Muscle or Body Aches
  • Headaches and Fatigue

Most health experts believe that the flu is spread by droplets that are made when people cough, sneeze, or speak. If these droplets land in the mouths or noses of others, they can get sick as well. Symptoms usually manifest within two days of exposure to the virus, but adults are able to infect others within a day of infection, before they even show symptoms and up to a week after becoming sick.

The flu virus can cause further complications for people with other conditions such as ear and sinus infections, asthma, diabetes, and pneumonia. People 65 and older, pregnant women, and young children are all at a higher risk of contracting influenza. It is especially important for these groups to get vaccinated.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the influenza virus is by getting vaccinated each year.

Misconceptions2

Many people voice concern that the influenza vaccine causes flu sickness; this is not true. Flu vaccines given with a needle are made with ‘inactivated’ strands of the virus that are not infectious. They cannot make you sick. The most common side effects of the flu shot are soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling around the site of the injection. These are a result of the shot itself, not the vaccine being administered. The initial soreness is most likely due to the body’s early immune response reacting to a foreign substance entering the bloodstream.

Flu vaccines are necessary every year. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly vaccine for almost everyone six months and older. A person’s immune protection from a vaccination degrades over time, so a vaccine is required every year to stay protected. Strands of flu can also change or mutate from year to year, requiring a different vaccine to prevent getting sick.

Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine3

The quadrivalent flu vaccine is designed to protect against four varieties of influenza: two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. This provides protection against a wider spectrum of circulating flu viruses. Different varieties of the quadrivalent vaccine are available to different age groups. People aged 2 through 49 can consider using a nasal spray vaccine if they’re opposed to the shot; however, research conducted over the last three years has shown a significant reduction in the effectiveness of the nasal spray vaccine, leading the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to recommend against using the spray for the 2016-2017 flu season.4 For this reason, One Community Health does not offer the nasal spray vaccine. Like all other vaccines, the quadrivalent vaccine cannot cause flu sickness in an otherwise healthy patient.

No matter which kind of vaccine you prefer to use, it’s important that you and your family get vaccinated during flu season. Contact your friends at One Community Health to protect yourself this year.

1 https://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm

2 https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm

3 https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/quadrivalent.htm

4 https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/s0622-laiv-flu.html

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