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Flu vaccine

What is the flu vaccine?

A vaccine is a type of medicine that prepares the body’s immune system so that it can fight a disease, it has not come into contact with before. Vaccines are designed to prevent disease, rather than treat a disease once you have caught it. The flu vaccine can keep you from getting sick with the flu.

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

There are different forms of the flu, including the "seasonal" flu, the 2009-2010 pandemic H1N1 flu ("swine" flu), and the bird flu ("avian" flu). The flu vaccines that are available now do not protect against bird flu.

There is tendency of flu virus to change year to year. That’s why some years the flu vaccine is more effective than others. And it takes months to make a new vaccine. But even in years when the vaccine is less effective, it still helps prevent some cases of the flu and also helps to prevent serious illness and outbreaks of the flu.

Some people think the flu vaccine doesn't work because they have known people who got flu even when they had taken flu vaccine.

Many people who get flu like symptoms even after getting the flu vaccine does not mean they actually have the flu; they could be having a cold caused by a virus unrelated to the flu virus, so the flu vaccine can't help with that.

Different forms of the flu vaccine

The flu vaccine comes in different forms, including:

  • Injection: that goes into muscle (usually in the upper part of the arm)

  • Nasal spray

Why you should get flu vaccine?

Flu is a potentially serious disease that can lead to serious symptoms and sometimes even death. Every year lots of people are hospitalized and even die from flu-related causes. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu. Benefits of flu vaccination are:-

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu. Even if you get flu, vaccine will help to reduce severity of illness thus reducing hospitalisation.

  • Flu vaccination also works as preventive measure for people with chronic health conditions.

  • Vaccination has been associated with lower rates of cardiac events among people with heart disease.

  • Flu vaccination is associated with reduced hospitalizations of people with diabetes and chronic lung disease lie COPD and asthma.

  • Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy.

  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are at risk for serious flu illness, like children, older people, and people with chronic health conditions.

Who should get the flu vaccine?

All people age 6 months or older should get the flu vaccine every year.

The vaccine is especially important for people at high risk

  • Children between 6 months to 4 years

  • Adults age 50 or older

  • People with long-term health problems, such as:

  • Heart disease

  • Diabetes

  • Lung disease, like asthma or COPD

  • Severe obesity

  • People who have poor immunity, for example because they:

  • People on chemotherapy for cancer

  • Patients of HIV/AIDS

  • Had an organ transplant

  • Women are pregnant or plan to get pregnant during the flu season

  • People who are on aspirin (Blood thinner) especially children of age 6 month to 18 years.

  • People who are hospitalised for some reasons.

  • People who live with or care for people at high risk

When to get Flu Vaccine?

The best time of year to get the flu vaccine is before the winter season begins. The vaccine works best if the children of 6 months through 8 years get 2 doses of vaccine, Depending on how many doses they have had in the past

What are the side effects of flu vaccine?

Usually the vaccine causes no side effects. Some time it can cause:

  • Redness, mild swelling, or soreness where you got the injection.

  • Mild fever

  • Mild rash

  • Body aches or Headache

Vaccines may rarely cause serious side effects, such as severe allergic reactions.

Does the flu vaccine cause the flu?

The flu vaccine does not cause the flu. People sometimes might feel sick after getting the vaccine, but this is often because they were already starting to get sick with the flu or another virus before they had the vaccine.

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