Flu season has officially begun, and if you haven’t gotten your vaccine, you’re putting yourself and others at risk of getting very sick. However, we understand you might have some questions about the flu vaccine: What exactly is in it, and how does it work?
What is in the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine contains inactivated (dead) virus cells of the most common strains of the flu virus. The vaccine contents change annually, based on scientists’ predictions of the most prevalent strains of the flu. This means the vaccine might not always be a perfect match, but it will protect you from the types of flu virus that you’re most likely going to be exposed to.
Is the flu vaccine safe?
Yes! The injectable flu vaccine has undergone decades of research and trials in order to be one of the safest medical treatments on the market, year after year. Everyone over the age of six months is advised to get the vaccine. It is safe for the elderly and pregnant women. There are many medications and treatments on the market today that cannot boast the same level of safety. The only counter-recommendations are if the individual has a weakened immune system and cannot handle vaccines of any kind, or if the individual is allergic to an ingredient in the vaccine.
How does the flu vaccine work?
The flu vaccine uses inactivated flu virus cells to trigger an immune response from your body. This immune response includes the release of antibodies, which fight the specific strain of the virus that has entered your body. Having antibodies for the flu viruses in your system at the beginning of flu season dramatically decreases the likelihood that you will get sick, because your body will already be prepared to kill the virus cells that enter your body.
When should I get the flu vaccine?
As soon as possible! Flu season has already begun, and while doctors recommend getting your vaccine by the end of October, as long as you get it, it will offer some protection. The longer you remain unvaccinated, the longer you remain at-risk of getting sick and spreading that sickness to others!
Why is the flu vaccine important?
The flu is a very dangerous illness. It can cause acute respiratory distress, pneumonia, dangerously high fever and even death. Every year, an average of 114,000 people are hospitalized due to complications associated with the seasonal flu. Many of those hospitalized are otherwise healthy adults, and they find out very quickly how terrible the flu can be. Additionally, getting the flu vaccine protects those around you who might be more vulnerable, like elderly people, newborns and people with compromised or weakened immune systems.
The flu vaccine is one of the easiest things you can do to stop the spread of the flu this season. Now that you understand the importance of getting the vaccine, what are you waiting for? Stop by your local AFC Urgent Care today to get vaccinated, no appointment necessary!