We are in the heart of flu shot season and the flu is lurking right around the corner. Steps can be taken to keep you and your family healthy this flu season.There are many myths out there surrounding the flu and flu shots. Let’s address the common questions associated with the flu and flu immunizations.
What is the flu?
The flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect your nose, throat, and lungs.Common symptoms of the flu include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, fatigue, muscle or body aches, and a runny or stuffy nose. In severe cases, the flu can also lead to hospitalization or even death. Vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea are other symptoms of the influenza virus one might experience.
What are ways to prevent flu virus transmission?
A yearly flu vaccine is the most important step to protect against flu viruses. Everyone six months of age and older should receive a flu vaccine every season. In addition, there are everyday preventative practices that can be used to decrease the spread of germs. Avoid close contact with sick individuals. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. And if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Disinfect hard surfaces that you believe may be contaminated with germs, like the flu.
What types of flu immunizations are available?
The standard flu vaccine is a trivalent formulation that covers the three most common strains of the flu. This is the most common immunization for patients under the age of 65. There are, also, quadravalent vaccines that protect against the four most common strains of the flu. For patients 65 and older, there is a trivalent high-dose immunization as well as a new trivalent product with an adjuvant, a substance that enhances the body’s immune response to an antigen.These products help to illicit a stronger immune response and allow older patients to respond better to the vaccine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for guidance in selecting the best immunization to meet your needs.
Can I get the flu from a flu shot?
No. The flu vaccine is a killed virus and does not cause the flu. The most common side effects someone may experience with a flu shot is irritation, soreness, and redness at the injection site.
How long does it take for the flu shot to take effect?
It takes about two weeks after a vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the influenza virus infection.
Influenza immunizations are the best tools we have at preventing the flu. Flu shots are readily available in most pharmacies and doctor’s offices, frequently without an appointment. If you have concerns about receiving a flu shot, please address those concerns with your doctor or pharmacist to give you the best chance of staying healthy during the flu season.
This article sponsored by Kingston Residence and was written by Kathy Profit, PharmD. She has been pharmacy manager at the Waynedale Walgreens on Bluffton Road store for 12 years. A resource used was CDC.Seasonal Influenza.URL.