The flu is a contagious and infectious illness caused by the influenza virus that infects the nose, throat, and sometimes lungs. Flu symptoms may include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle and body aches, headaches, and fatigue. Symptoms usually appear within the first four days of exposure to the virus but are immediately contagious. Most healthy patients will recover within seven to ten days. Ways to avoid getting and spreading the flu include washing hands, covering a cough or sneeze, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and shared items. However, the flu shot remains the best defense against influenza.
A Flu Shot Will Not Give You The Flu
There is a common myth that getting the flu vaccination will cause the flu. Some people think getting the flu shot can cause sickness during the stage of antibody development because of the flu shot itself. However, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu vaccination is either made from an inactivated virus or a vaccine that does not contain the virus at all. Therefore, the vaccination cannot transmit the virus. There can be mild side effects due to the flu shot, but they are not from the illness. The side effects may last up to two days and include a low-grade fever, aches, and soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given.
Germs Can Cause The Flu
Colds and the flu spread through airborne microbes when infected patients cough, sneeze or talk, reaching visible distances of up to two feet. However, the virus can be spread through touching objects or surfaces that were previously touched by an infected patient. The microbes can live on skin or surface for three to forty-eight hours. The flu can be avoided by keeping excellent hand hygiene and by regularly using alcohol wipes or disinfectant gel on surfaces and objects such as keyboards, cell phones, doorknobs, pens, or anything others may interact with. But getting a flu shot can lower the susceptibility of getting the influenza virus.
Your Flu Shot Protects You And Others
Getting the flu shot is essential when attempting to protect and prevent the flu, but it is also important to ensure others are safe from possible infection as well. Influenza viruses can affect anyone, but there are various groups of people more susceptible to the flu. These groups include children from six months to four years old, people over the age of fifty, pregnant women, postpartum women, health care professionals, household caregivers, obese men and women, as well as people with diabetes, asthma, and chronic pulmonary disorders.
Protecting Your Newborn From The Flu
The best way to protect children from the influenza virus is by having them get their annual flu shot. The CDC estimates that since the 2004-2005 flu season, thirty-seven to one-hundred and seventy-one children died from the flu, annually. Children are more likely to get sick from the flu than adults, which is why it is important to have everyone over the age of six months vaccinated. Although children younger than six months old are too young to be vaccinated, they can still be protected. The best way to protect an infant from influenza is for the mother to get vaccinated during pregnancy and by making sure others around her are vaccinated as well.
The Flu Vaccine Can Save Your Life
The CDC estimated flu-related deaths ranged from twelve-thousand to fifty-six thousand since 2010. In that time, flu-related hospitalizations ranged from 140,000 to 710,000. Everyone over six months old should get vaccinated to protect against the influenza virus. Getting an annual flu vaccination is the best way to reduce the risk of getting sick with the flu. A study of the data of flu between 2010 and 2014, determined vaccinations reduced the likelihood of flu-related death by sixty-five percent among healthy children.
Possible Side Effects
The flu vaccine will not cause a patient to get influenza, but there are some minor flu-like side effects they might experience. The side effects that may be expected from a flu shot are soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was received, a low-grade fever, and aches. Side effects from the nasal spray vaccine may include a runny nose, wheezing, headache, muscle aches, nausea, and fever.
Benefits Of The Flu Shot
Getting a flu shot every year does not just affect the patient receiving the vaccination, but others they may interact with as well. It reduces the risk of flu-related hospitalizations, helps protect women and their babies during pregnancy, as well as everyone else who may be vulnerable, like children, the elderly, and those with chronic health issues. However, there are many other benefits to the flu shot. A 2017 study found the flu vaccination greatly reduces the likelihood of children dying from influenza. Another study done the same year discovered that if a patient gets ill with the flu after receiving the flu shot, their symptoms may be milder.
Tips To Make The Best Of A Flu Shot
The flu shot is still the best way to keep the influenza virus at bay. However, there are a few tips as to how vaccinated patients can better the effectiveness of their flu shot. It is important to wash hands with soap and warm water as often as possible and to clean and disinfect surfaces and shared items. It is also important to cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, throwing it out, or if there is no tissue available, with the upper part of a sleeve. Finally, it is essential to stay home when sick to keep coworkers, classmates, or teachers from catching the flu.