When flu season rolls around, government scientists do their best to predict what strains of influenza may be doing the rounds and to provide an appropriate vaccine. It's a good idea for everyone to get a shot, especially if they are very young, are very old or have a compromised immune system. If you've never had a flu shot before and are thinking of getting one this season, what do you need to know about it?
Down for the Count
Influenza is a thoroughly unpleasant illness and can often sideline an individual for one or two weeks. During this time, they may be bedridden and have headaches, shivers, a fever and a sore throat. They may also have a cough, feel fatigued, ache all over and feel generally miserable.
Sometimes, the flu can develop into a more serious issue, triggering an outbreak of bronchitis or even pneumonia. In the worst case, these complications can be so bad that the individual may need to go to the hospital for further treatment.
Ease of Transmission
Influenza can be transmitted by touching bodily fluids or breathing in droplets in the air produced by somebody coughing or sneezing. The virus may then lay dormant for a couple of days before becoming active, and the patient can be contagious for a number of days before and up to 7 days after the symptoms become apparent.
As you can see, it may be difficult to avoid this type of illness, especially if you happen to spend a lot of your time in a crowded place. Consequently, if you believe that you are vulnerable, then you should certainly think about getting a vaccine before the flu season gets underway.
Some people think that they can actually catch influenza from the shot itself. However, the vaccine does not contain any live virus, but it will increase the antibody levels to provide an additional layer of protection against the more prevalent strains.
Contact your nearest medical centre and make an appointment so that you can get your vaccination. Bear in mind that it may take up to 2 weeks for the shot to work and for those antibody levels to build up. However, you may have some increased defence against the virus within a few days of the injection, but it's still important to take action as soon as the new vaccine is available.