Influenza is a potentially deadly respiratory infection that often peaks during the fall and winter. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that millions of Americans get the flu each year, leading to thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations.
Who should receive the flu vaccine?
The most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications is to receive a yearly flu vaccine. It is recommended that everyone over six months of age receive the vaccine but it is crucial for people who are at high risk of complications from the flu, including those with chronic lung disease, pregnant women, and people over 65 years of age.
While the flu vaccine is recommended for most people over the age of six months, it may not be right for everyone. You should speak with your pharmacist or physician before receiving the flu vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction to a previous flu shot, have a severe allergy to eggs, a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, or are not feeling well.
How effective is the flu vaccine?
While the influenza vaccine significantly decreases your chance of getting the flu, it does not protect fully against it. Each year, the vaccine is developed to defend against the viruses that research indicates will be the most common that year. The level of protection depends partly on how closely the virus in the vaccine matches that of the virus that is circulating in the community, which is why it is important to receive the flu vaccine each year. The flu virus mutates and adapts quickly, meaning the last year’s vaccine may not match the strain in the community this year.
Even if the two are not closely matched though, the vaccine is still beneficial. It can reduce the severity of your flu and also prevent flu-related complications.
Can I get the flu from the vaccine?
The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu, however, you may experience flu-like symptoms as your body ramps up its defense against the virus. The vaccine exposes your body to weakened forms or fragments of the virus that induce an immune reaction, triggering your body to produce antibodies. These antibodies help protect you from the flu by allowing your body to create a defense that can react quickly if you are exposed to the virus in the future. Some people may experience muscle aches or a fever for a few days after the vaccine due to the production of these antibodies.
The yearly influenza vaccine is an easy way to provide protection against the flu and all of its complications, contact your neighborhood Frisco ReNue Rx compounding pharmacy to learn more about the vaccine.