Have you had your flu shot yet? Are you perhaps worried about some myths you have heard concerning flu shots and influenza? Here are some facts about flu shots that everyone should know.
- Influenza Is a Serious Illness
Influenza, or flu, can incapacitate some people for a few days but can become a deadly disease for people with weakened immune systems. Last winter, around 80,000 people died in the U.S. from complications related to the flu.
People with the flu commonly suffer from respiratory problems. They may have a cough with or without discharge. More serious breathing difficulties can develop.
Other serious flu symptoms include:
- High fever
- Body aches
- Joint pains
Compared to the suffering the sick endure with flu symptoms, a quick jab with a needle is easy. Remember that flu symptoms may last several weeks. A few minutes at the clinic is nothing in comparison and can save you from missing work and becoming seriously ill.
- Vaccines Target Several Strains of Influenza
Multiple strains of influenza or flu exist. Each year, experts predict which four strains will be the most common flu pathogens to spread among humans. The immunization developers create vaccines designed to protect people from the four strains predicted to cause the most medical problems in the near future.
The four strains chosen for the 2018 vaccinations are the following:
- A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
- A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 A (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
- B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus (updated)
- B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus
Flu strains are named after the area where they are first identified. The first H1N1 strain listed above is named after the state of Michigan, since experts first identified the specific flu virus included in the vaccine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Medical professionals can administer the various flu vaccines in shots or a nasal version known as a Flu Mist. Individual products may offer protection from only one or up to four different flu varieties. Most flu shots include three to four of the strains in their makeup.
The shots provide immunity from flu within two weeks. Even if you catch a different strain than the one your shot covers, your flu symptoms may be less severe due to your fortified immune system.
- Flu Shots Provide Herd Immunity
You may feel strong and healthy. You may be a person who has never suffered from the flu yourself. However, every person who receives a flu shot helps to build their community’s immunity to influenza.
This year could be the year that you do contract a strain of influenza. If you get the flu shot and your body can fight off the virus, you are less likely to spread the disease to others. You help stop the spread of influenza in your social circle and local area.
Some people with weakened immune systems cannot receive the flu vaccines. They are especially vulnerable to the effects of influenza. When you get your flu shot, you help protect the vulnerable community members who are unable to receive the vaccines.
Vulnerable community members include the following:
- Infants and children
- Pregnant women
- People with chronic illnesses
- People with respiratory diseases
Michigan has already confirmed three cases of H1N1 virus in the state in August 2018. Health experts in the state hope that people will increase the rate of immunization, which is around 44 percent. The more vaccinations administered, the less likely that the flu will infect high numbers of people.
- Flu Shots Cannot Give You the Flu
You cannot contract strains of influenza by receiving flu shots. However, some people mistakenly think they became ill from a flu shot.
First, you can still contract the flu in the two weeks directly after you get your flu shot. A bit of time must pass for your body to develop the antibodies to fight flu viruses. The shot will not protect you during that interim period.
In some cases, people catch another kind of viral respiratory disease and believe they have caught the flu. If you receive the flu shot and believe you later contracted the flu, visit your health care clinic to receive an accurate diagnosis. Many non-flu viral and bacterial diseases spread from person to person in the winter months.
Your body may feel slightly run down or achy for a few days after you receive a flu shot. This feeling is normal and does not mean you are about to get sick. Your sudden fatigue is due to your body’s immune system working extra hard to make antiviral agents.
You are not too late to get this year’s flu shot. Schedule your flu vaccine in Buffalo, Monticello, or Albertville, Minnesota, by contacting Stellis Health today. We offer safe vaccinations for patients of all ages and expert medical care for patients who contract the flu during the upcoming winter season.