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What You Need To Know About the Flu Vaccinations
Influenza (or the flu) is a condition of the respiratory system, meaning your airways suffer the effects. The flu is an infectious disease spread from one person to another through sneezing, coughing or even talking. It could take up to four days before the symptoms appear after getting the flu virus. This means the people close to you may have been infected before you realize that you have the infection.
How bad is the flu?
The flu symptoms could be moderate to severe. If you get infected, you may suffer a cough, fever, fatigue and aches. Patients above 65, those dealing with preexisting health conditions (including heart disease, asthma or diabetes), young children and pregnant women are rated high risk and more susceptible to the flu and its effects. Annually, thousands of Americans die or are hospitalized because of the flu.
Receiving the flu vaccination is the most effective way to shield yourself from the flu. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises that, unless your primary caregiver tells you otherwise, everybody above six months of age should receive the flu shot yearly.
How the flu vaccine works
Different types of flu vaccines exist today. The flu vaccine can be prepared with an inactivated virus or no virus, usually called “recombinant” vaccines. The latter only has specific proteins called subunits, found in the influenza virus. The nasal flu vaccine is prepared using live viruses that have been made too dormant to cause infection. This type is called a “live-attenuated” vaccine.
Regardless of the vaccine administered, it teaches your body to develop antibodies to guard your body against the flu by fighting the virus.
Finding the right type of vaccine
Your primary care doctor or other caregivers will be glad to guide you on finding the right vaccine for you.
The flu vaccine is divided into two categories: Trivalent and quadrivalent. The trivalent flu vaccines contain dual strains of the Influenza A virus (H1N1 and H3N2) and a single strain of the Influenza B virus. The quadrivalent variety guard against similar strains but has an extra B virus.
The flu shots are administered through injection into your upper arm. The shots have no live virus, which can be inactivated or recombinant.
The nasal spray is another option. Nasal sprays have weakened influenza virus and usually are quadrivalent. The nasal spray flu vaccination is preferable for healthy people within the ages of 2 and 49.6
Seniors above 65 years have more options. They can choose to get the high dose or adjuvanted flu vaccine. These flu shots are specially made for seniors and, from past research, have proven to be sufficient protection against flu in people above 65 years of age.
The effectiveness of the flu shot
The vaccine formulation is modified annually to match the flu virus. The vaccine is more potent when it matches well. Even without a good match, getting vaccinated is still a good choice. If you end up getting an infection despite vaccination, there is a chance the illness will not be as severe as if you had no immunization. Getting a vaccination is also important to protect your community from the infection.
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