Every year, new flu vaccines are created and released to keep up with continually adapting flu viruses. These flu viruses have such rapid evolution that a vaccine from last year may not be able to protect against a virus this year. Once vaccinated, the immune system will react by producing antibodies, protecting the patient from viruses.
It’s quite possible to catch the season's flu strain if the vaccine is not received yearly. Influenza can leave patients sick in bed for a week or worse, wind up hospitalized. Influenza circulates on a worldwide scale and can affect anyone. Each year, thousands of people die from complications brought on by the flu.
Learn more information about precisely why getting the flu vaccine each year is highly recommended.
Viruses Vary Year to Year
As stated, the flu shot patients received one year may not have the ability to protect from the flu next year, because the virus changes over time. There are two different types of changes or shifts. The Antigenic 'drift' is a slow change. It can occur when the immune system doesn’t recognize the flu virus from one year to the next.
Influenza virus’s research can nearly always successfully pinpoint the most likely illnesses that will come up during flu season. The vaccines are updated yearly based on the influenza viruses responsible for making people sick. The research is a joined effort between one hundred countries and involves testing thousands of virus samples. Patients are protected against the season’s most common flu virus strains when they receive yearly vaccines.
Health Complications Avoided
Influenza is a harmful disease that can result in hospitalization and sometimes death. Influenza affects all patients differently, and can result in even the healthiest of people becoming very ill. The flu can lead to other health complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, as well as ear and sinus infections. Even if the vaccine does not always prevent the flu, after all, it is not a guarantee, there is a much higher chance of experiencing a less severe case of the flu. As such, the chances of the health complications discussed are far less with the vaccine than without.
Continue reading to learn about the benefit of getting a yearly flu shot with regards to those with chronic medical conditions.
For Those With Chronic Medical Conditions
It is even more important for individuals who have chronic medical conditions to be protected from the flu each year. Influenza can make many conditions worse, such as asthma, HIV/AIDS, chronic lung disease, heart disease, blood disorders, kidney disorders, cerebral palsy, cancer, and liver conditions.
It is also crucial to know some chronic or immune system compromising conditions prevent the individual who has them from receiving the flu vaccine. Due to this, it becomes even more important for those around them who can receive the vaccine each year to do so. This not only protects them, but the immunocompromised individuals as well.
Continue reading to learn about flu shot protection.
High Level of Protection
Health experts determine which flu strains will dominate the upcoming flu season based on extensive research. The year's vaccine will be based upon this research and will be based off the prevalent strains (typically up to three strains). When this research is correct, the vaccine can be up to ninety percent effective for a healthy adult. Seniors over sixty-five years old will receive a higher dose of the flu vaccine to ensure effectiveness. And as previously stated, even if an individual falls into the percentage of those who still contract the flu even after receiving the vaccine, studies show these cases of the flu are typically far less severe than they would be without the vaccine, which can be a savior to many.
Continue reading to learn about the last reason on this list of why patients should receive a yearly flu shot.
The Body Makes Antibodies for Protection
Unfortunately, the research isn't always correct about what strain of the flu will be prevalent in a particular season. Sometimes a new strain can develop, or another one appears out of nowhere. This is often why strains like H1N1 can be devastating. However, even in cases where this happens, it is still important to receive the flu shot every year. Even when the prevalent strains do not match the vaccine, the body will still create antibodies, which can help it fight other strains of the flu. And as stated numerous times, the vaccines make it easier to fight the flu and lessen the severity of the flu when someone does catch it. This applies even when strains do not match!