Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine

When to get vaccinated?

 flu vaccination is required to keep people protected against the highly variable influenza virus. Annually, the flu kills almost 36,000 people all over the United States. What makes influenza so troublesome is that the virus changes every so often with different strains becoming dominant year after year. And because of the high mutation rate of the flu virus, a flu vaccination is only effective for about a year. A flu vaccine is highly recommended for any high risk group that may likely develop serious complications from the flu virus.

For seniors who are always out and about or those who may have weakened immune systems, a flu vaccination should be in order during annual check ups with the doctor. Old people are usually considered as one of the high risk groups for influenza to strike due to their usually weakened immunity to diseases as they age. Even those who are healthy should try to get vaccinated against the flu virus every year in order to help avoid being another virus carrier that can infect everyone in their vicinity.

It is especially very important to get vaccinated for the influenza in time for flu season. Many doctors suggest that the vaccine should be taken around the time of the Thanksgiving holidays. The reason that doctors cite is that such holidays where more people get into casual contact with friends and family from different places and where physical contact between them through hugs and kisses are shared. This may also heighten the risk of getting the flu from someone and spread it along.

Who should get vaccinated?

People at high risk for complications from the flu, including:

  • Children aged 6 months until their 5th birthday,
  • Pregnant women,
  • People 50 years of age and older, and
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions;
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.

People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:

  • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu (see above)
  • Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
  • Healthcare workers.

Who should not be vaccinated

And before you take that flu shot, you should also be aware of possible allergies that you may have. If in case you are allergic to chicken protein or eggs, it is important to note that flu vaccines are cultivated inside chicken eggs. If you are allergic to chicken and is considering taking a flu shot, it might be better to talk to your doctor first to make sure that serious complications can be prevented.

Vaccine effectiveness

If you fear of getting a flu shot because it might make you catch the virus, it would not. Flu shots are developed with a killed form of the virus that won’t get you the disease. What people should look out is for the nasal flu vaccine, which is sometimes made out of a weakened flu virus. This may cause flu in people at times with weakened immune systems.

Flu vaccination is a good way to keep yourself from contracting the virus and spreading it to others. Make sure that you try to make yourself properly protected against the virus in order not to suffer from its consequences. Catching the flu can really be a very miserable experience. A simple flu shot every year can help you keep away from such misery that only influenza could bring.