The flu vaccine is a type of vaccine that can help reduce the likelihood of a person catching the flu. This is an extremely important consideration for anyone who wants to protect themselves and their communities during influenza season.
Flu Vaccine FAQs
Many people don’t recognize just how important the seasonal flu vaccines are, nor how they have grown drastically in importance since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this post, we’re going to take a look at flu vaccines and answer the most common questions about them.
How do they work?
A flu vaccine works like any other vaccination. That is to say, by injecting a very small quantity of the virus in question into the patient. The flu vaccine is made from an inactivated (dead) protein from the virus. This small amount of virus is then hunted down and eliminated by the patient’s body before it can cause any harm.
The reason this is beneficial is that it effectively trains the body to overcome the invaders and to recognize them in the future. That in turn, means that it will then be able to identify the same viruses in the future and fend them off more easily. Think of it as “teaching” the body’s immune system.
Am I guaranteed not to get the flu?
Unfortunately, the flu vaccine does not guarantee that you will not get the flu! While this might seem a little disappointing, it makes sense when you consider that the flu virus is one that is constantly changing and mutating. In effect, there is no “single” flu vaccine, but rather there is an unlimited number of different ones. What the flu vaccine does, is to drastically reduce your chances of catching the illness. Estimates and studies typically put this at roughly a 40-60% reduced risk.
Does the flu vaccine protect against COVID-19?
While COVID-19 and influenza both cause respiratory disease, they are different. A vaccine against one would not protect you against the other. Researchers are still working on developing a vaccine for COVID-19.
Why hasn’t the flu been wiped out?
There have been many illnesses throughout human history that we now consider to be “totally eliminated.” This has been done with vaccinations. So why does influenza still exist? It’s because the flu is constantly mutating and doesn’t exist in a single form. That means it’s not possible to fully wipe it out.
Are there any side effects?
Some people find that, following the flu vaccine, they experience symptoms associated with a mild cold. They may feel a little bit run down, they may experience sniffles and a slightly runny nose, or they may develop a cough. Some people feel muscle or arm pain at the injection site. These shouldn’t last more than a few days.
Are they safe?
You may wonder if a flu vaccine is safe, especially in light of so many “anti-vaxers” promoting fear around the use of vaccines. The truth is that there is absolutely no evidence that vaccines are harmful in the long run. Nor is there a feasible link between vaccines and the conditions that they are said to cause. For example, autism is a condition that begins in the womb and there is no evidence that you can “develop” autism after birth.
Why are they so important?
Vaccines are extremely important to prevent the spread of illness. Not only do they keep you and your family safe, they also keep your neighbors safe, your colleagues, and the people you share public transport with. This is especially important for protecting the elderly and those with other health conditions. Thousands of people die from the flu each year. These deaths could be reduced if more people considered getting the vaccine.
Right now, this is more important than ever as the availability of ventilators and other crucial equipment is pushed to its limit during the Coronavirus outbreak.
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