Flu Vaccine Q&A | Revere Health

Have you gotten your flu shot? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this vaccine is the best protection against the flu. Because every flu season is different, you should get vaccinated each year. Read on for answers to common questions patients have about the flu shot.

When Was the Flu Vaccine Invented?

The influenza virus, which causes the flu, was discovered in the 1930s. World War II soldiers received the first flu vaccine in 1945. In 1946, the flu shot became available to the public. However, the CDC did not begin recommending vaccination for all Americans until 2010.

Why Is the Flu Shot Important?

Some people only experience minor flu symptoms. But for others, this virus is severe. It can cause hospitalization, disability and even death.

Why is the Flu Shot Important?

  1. The CDC tracks pediatric deaths from flu. During the 2017-2018 flu season, a record number of children (185) died from flu. Eighty percent of them were not vaccinated.
  2. Each year, the flu shot reduces the risk of needing medical care for the flu by 40 to 60 percent according to the CDC. Even if you get the flu, it may not be as severe.
  3. Getting a flu shot lowers the risk of complications for those with chronic illnesses. This includes people with heart conditions or diabetes.
  4. Children who get the flu shot are less likely to die from the flu.
  5. When you get vaccinated, you protect people at high risk for the flu. This includes babies who are too young to get vaccinated, older adults and people with chronic diseases.
  6. Vaccination is important if you are pregnant. When your baby is born, he or she is too young to get the flu shot. However, the baby will be protected by your flu antibodies.

How Does the Flu Shot Work?

Within two weeks of getting the vaccine, the body develops antibodies. These substances protect against the flu virus strains in the shot.

Side effects of the flu shot are usually minor. Contrary to common belief, the shot does not cause the flu. However, you might have a headache, upset stomach, fever or muscle aches after getting the vaccine. Another side effect is pain or redness at the injection site. Serious side effects are rare.

Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

The CDC recommends vaccines for everyone age 6 months and older. People who have an egg allergy should generally not get a flu shot. The vaccine is also not safe for people who have Guillain-Barré syndrome.

What Strains Are Covered by the Flu Vaccine?

Early vaccines covered influenza A and B, two strains of the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) began targeting the most widespread strains in 1973. Today, each year’s shot is updated with three strains of the virus. It usually combines two A strains with one B strain.

The vaccine for the 2019 flu season protects against strains H1N1 and H3N2. These are A strains. The latter has been especially severe. It also protects against influenza B.

Visit your doctor if you still need to get a flu shot. It’s best to get your shot by the end of October. However, protection is important even late in the flu season. Contact your doctor’s office to make an appointment.

 

Revere Health Orem Family Medicine is devoted to comprehensive healthcare for patients of all ages and providing thorough and timely healthcare for the entire family throughout all stages of life.

Sources:

“.The History of the Flu Shot and Some Common Misconceptions.” Fortune. http://fortune.com/2018/01/19/flu-shot-history/

“The Flu Outbreak Has Peaked but Still Has Weeks to Go.” The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/health/flu-season-facts.html

“Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm  

“Flu (Influenza).” Vaccines.gov

https://www.vaccines.gov/diseases/flu/index.html

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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