The Annual Flu Shot The Flu Shot

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A flu shot can make your life easier. A brief needle stick or nasal spray can protect you from this dangerous illness.

It’s particularly important for certain groups of people, such as older adults, healthcare workers, and pregnant women. Influenza, or the flu, isn’t just a simple cold. The following symptoms that often accompany the flu are more severe than the symptoms of the common cold:
• high fever
• chills
• body aches
• sore throat
• cough
• fatigue

The flu can catch you by surprise with its intensity and leave you feeling sick for days. It can also lead to life-threatening complications. How does the flu vaccine work?

Getting the annual flu vaccine is a safe, effective way to prevent the flu. The vaccine causes your body to develop antibodies to several strains of the influenza virus. These antibodies help protect your body against infection.

Many strains of the influenza virus exist. They’re constantly mutating and changing. The seasonal flu vaccine is changed every year to keep up with the three strains of the virus that research suggests will be most common in the upcoming flu season. You need to get a new vaccine every year to stay safe.

Who needs the flu vaccine? Everyone can benefit from the flu vaccine, but it’s crucial for people in certain groups. Getting the flu puts you at risk of secondary infections and serious complications, especially if you’re in a high-risk group. Possible complications include:
• pneumonia
• bronchitis
• sinus infections
• ear infections

The very young have an increased chance of developing complications from the flu. It’s important for them to stay up to date on their flu vaccinations. It’s also important to make the flu vaccine a priority if you:
• are 65 or older
• live in a nursing home or assisted care facility
• have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, or HIV
• have a weakened immune system
• mare a healthcare worker who may be exposed to people who are sick

WHEN THE FLU VACCINE STARTS WORKING

Once you receive your flu shot, it takes 2 weeks for your body to develop antibodies that provide protection. It’s important to remember that during this period, you’re still vulnerable to becoming ill with the flu.

During that time, you should be extra careful to:
• practice good hygiene
• avoid touching your nose or mouth whenever possible
• avoid crowds if flu is circulating in your community

These precautions are exponentially more important while COVID-19 is still a factor. You can develop the flu along with other respiratory infections, so protecting yourself and others is important.

Talk to your doctor if you’re not sure if the flu vaccine is safe for you. They can help you understand the benefits and risks. They can also provide other tips for avoiding the flu and other contagious illnesses.