Coming down with the flu during the flu season can be very frustrating especially when you have a lot planned for the month. Your condition can adversely affect your plans for work, school, and even family. You can, however, reduce your chances of getting sick with the flu this season by getting a flu shot.
Five things you should know about the flu vaccine
1. It may not give protection against all flu strains but it can save your life
Every year, health experts meet to determine the strains that should be covered for the flu season which often spans through October to April or May. The same vaccine cannot be administered each year because influenza viruses change and mutate constantly. If the vaccines are not tweaked they may become ineffective in the next flu season. The vaccines can, however, offer protection against three or four of the most likely strains of each year. This year’s strains include influenza A H1N1 and B/Victoria strain. But the available vaccine only gives protection against the former, leaving people susceptible to illnesses caused by the latter. Notwithstanding though, disease experts say that vaccination reduces the severity of the flu when you fall sick and can help to prevent complications.
2. The best time to get vaccinated is in the fall
Don’t wait until whenever you feel like it to take the flu vaccine. The best time to take it is in the fall preferably before Halloween. Experts advise that everyone gets vaccinated before the end of October. The body takes about two weeks after getting a flu shot to build immunity. So you can go for a vaccination in early or mid-October. One of the advantages of getting vaccinated on time is that you can boost protection against the flu before loved ones begin to arrive for the holidays as this is usually a time when germs spread easily.
3. The effect of the flu shot declines over time
The vaccine does not offer year-round protection, so it is still very possible to get sick with the flu even after vaccination. Health experts say that after some time, the antibodies that your immune system produces to fight the flu may begin to decline. For some people, their immunity may start dropping after only six months and for others, it may take a little longer. To ensure that your immune system stays strong, doctors advise that a person goes for vaccination at the start of each flu season instead of on an annual basis.
4. You still need the shot even if you have already had the flu this season
Don’t conclude that you don’t need the flu vaccine anymore because you have already been down with the flu. If you haven’t received the shot before, it’s never too late to do so. Each year comes with multiple flu strains, so you can get infected with a different strain of flu even after having one in the season.
5. Everyone over the age of six months should get vaccinated
The flu vaccine needs to be taken by all those who are above six months. Children, pregnant women, those above 65, people living with chronic diseases and those with a compromised immune system must not skip the vaccine. These people have higher chances of having the flu if
The flu shot is important for all those who want to stay healthy during the flu season. It can prevent you from getting sick and ending up in the hospital.