What You Need To Know About Flu Vaccine
Getting a flu vaccine can make your life easier. Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalisation and sometimes even death. It can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year. An annual flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu as it has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalisations and even the risk of flu-related death in children.
How Does It Work?
Getting the annual flu vaccine is a safe, effective way to prevent the flu. The vaccine causes antibodies to develop and these antibodies help protect your body against infection. Most flu vaccines protect against four different flu viruses (“quadrivalent”); an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses. There are also some flu vaccines that protect against three different flu viruses (“trivalent”); an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and one influenza B virus. Two of the trivalent vaccines are designed specifically for people 65 and older to create a stronger immune response.
Who Needs it?
Everyone can benefit from the flu vaccine, but it is important for people in certain groups. Getting the flu puts you at risk of secondary infections and serious complications, especially if you’re in a high-risk group. Possible complications include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, or ear infections.
The very young have an increased chance of developing complications from the flu. Hence, it is crucial for them to stay up to date on their flu vaccinations. It’s also important to make the flu vaccine a priority if you:
- are 65 or older
- live in a nursing home or care facility
- have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, or HIV
- have a weakened immune system
- are a healthcare worker who may be exposed to people who are sick
What Are the Side Effects of The Flu Vaccine?
Like any medical product, vaccines can cause side effects. Side effects of the flu vaccine are generally mild and go away on their own within a few days. Common side effects from the flu vaccination include:
- Soreness, redness, and/or swelling from the shot
- Muscle aches
A small number of people experience more severe reactions. Life-threatening allergic reactions to the flu shot are rare.
The flu can be very uncomfortable and even life-threatening in some cases. Consider getting an annual flu vaccine to help protect yourself. It’s a safe and effective option for many people.
Getting the flu vaccine is especially important if you’re at high risk for secondary infections and flu-related complications.
Talk to your doctor if you’re not sure if the flu vaccine is safe for you. They can help you understand the benefits and risks. They can also provide other tips for avoiding the flu and other contagious illnesses.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD): Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine
- NHS, Facts about flu and the flu vaccine