The Flu Shot and Seasonal Flu Virus
Getting a seasonal flu shot can help protect you against the seasonal flu virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting the shot every year. Flu season in the U.S. starts in September and ends in April. The flu shot reduces your risk of contracting the viruses that cause influenza. It prevents about 7.5 million flu cases each year and an estimated 6,800 deaths.
How the flu shot protects you against the seasonal flu virus
Let us take a look at a few things that patients should know about the flu virus and how it works.
1. The flu shot is safe
One of the most prevalent myths about the flu shot is that it can give people the flu because it contains the live virus. That is not the way that the vaccine works. It is made using dead or inactive strains of the influenza A and B viruses, so there is no way that the vaccine can lead to a person becoming infected with the flu.
The vaccine is typically injected into a patient’s arms, and it triggers a response from their immune system. The immune system reacts by building antibodies to fight these specific flu strains. The immune system’s response can lead to side effects like muscle aches, fever, nausea, and headaches. In extremely rare cases, a patient might have an allergic reaction to the virus.
2. The shot reduces your risk of getting influenza
Influenza A and B strains are complex infections that are constantly evolving, so some people who get the flu shot might still end up getting the flu. That does not mean the shot is ineffective; it simply means the vaccine did not protect against that specific strain of the A or B virus.
Influenza can lead to complications, especially in kids, pregnant women, and children. However, the vaccine protects patients from about 60% of the viruses that cause the flu.
3. The flu shot does not protect against COVID-19
While COVID-19 and the seasonal flu share similarities, these infections are caused by two different viruses. Unfortunately, that means the flu shot cannot protect against COVID-19 and vice versa.
A person can be infected by both viruses simultaneously, which increases the risk of complications. Getting vaccinated for both viruses gives people the highest level of protection against contracting a severe illness, needing hospitalization, or dying.
4. The flu virus is continuously evolving
This is why the CDC recommends getting a flu shot every year. Like all viruses, influenza is constantly evolving, so there are always new strains to be vaccinated against. Annual flu vaccines are developed to protect against the strains of viruses expected to be most common that year. That means last year’s vaccine will probably not protect someone against the new strains that have developed since then.
Protect yourself against influenza
Do you need a flu shot? Stop by our Woodbridge clinic to give us a call to set up an appointment.
Request an appointment here: https://hillendale.millenniummedicalcare.com or call Millennium Medical Care Woodbridge at (703) 945-1942 for an appointment in our Woodbridge office.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Flu Shot in Woodbridge, VA.
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