With the advent of winters, there is also the dawn of flu season. The elderly and the young ones are particularly at high risk of contracting the flu virus, which is why, experts like Pulmonologist in Lahore, recommend getting vaccinated preemptively. Read on to know more about flu shots, and who should get them:
Flu Shots Are Given Yearly
Unlike other vaccines, flu shots need to be taken annually. Every year, there is a vaccine against the prevalent strains of the influenza virus, which protects the people against that particular strain only. In the next year, the immunity offered by this virus wanes, and there is mutation in the influenza virus, rendering the vaccine ineffective. This is why annual flu shots are needed—for all age groups.
The best time to get vaccinated is around the end of October, but before winter fully approaches. This gives ideal time to the body to produce antibodies. The sooner you get vaccinated, the sooner you will be protected. However, do not think it’s too late if you have missed October, as most walk-in clinics offer vaccination throughout the season. Remember, late vaccination is still better than no-vaccination.
Flu Shots Are The Best Bet Against Influenza Virus
Even vaccination is not 100 percent effective against the flu virus, but they offer the best protection against it. Some people can still get the virus, despite vaccination, but the disease severity in such individuals is mitigated. This is particularly helpful for the elderly and the very young, who can avoid hospitalization and being vulnerable to other hospital-acquired infections. Other measures that are helpful against flu include: regular hand washing and using masks when visiting the sick.
Everyone Should Get The Shot—With A Few Exceptions
Even though the vaccine is recommended for everyone—there are a few exceptions. These include: children younger than six months of age, people with previous history of allergic reaction to the vaccine and those with history of Guillain-Barre syndrome. To check if you fall in the exceptions category or not, talk to your healthcare provider. In case of acute illness, the vaccination can be postponed, but it is recommended to get vaccinated after recovery.
Flu Vaccine Is Safe For Children
Flu vaccine is not only safe for children, but highly recommended as well, since they are at higher risk of complications. This includes children with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, weak immune system and heart problems. For babies less than six months of age, protection can be offered by vaccinating those around them and their primary care-givers.
Flu Shots Don’t Give You Flu
Vaccines carry the inactivated influenza virus, that only triggers the body’s immune system to produce active antibodies against it. This inactivated virus cannot actually give you flu.
How Is The Flu Shot Given?
Flu shots are given to everyone including children older than 6 months of age, to older adults. Babies younger than six months should not get the vaccine. For children young than 9 years of age, two shots of the vaccine are given, one month apart, if they weren’t vaccinated twice in the season before. If they were vaccinated twice in the season before, they only need one shot.
For children older than 9 years of age, only one dose of the vaccine is needed.
Flu Shots Can Have Mild Side-Effects
Flu shots can have mild side-effects like soreness and redness at the injection site, body aches and low-grade fever. For more severe side-effects, your healthcare provider or Pulmonologist in Islamabad may recommend over-the-counter antipyretics like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to deal with the discomfort. You can also use a heating pad for soreness at the injection site.