Join the Fight Against the Flu by Getting Vaccinated

Victor A. Nwanguma, MD

SMGOR Infectious Disease Specialist

Influenza or Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. When people with flu cough or sneeze, you can inhale droplets that contain flu viruses. The virus triggers inflammation in your body which produces flu symptoms. It can cause mild to severe illness and even death in certain people, particularly among older adults, very young children and persons with certain health conditions.

Influenza illness also is an important cause of missed work and school.

In the United States, influenza typically circulates annually, most commonly from late fall through early spring, affecting millions of people, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control).

The best way to prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year and the CDC recommends everyone older than 6 months who can get one should do so.

There are very few contraindications, for example, infants younger than 6 months of age and people who have experienced a severe (life-threatening) allergy to a prior dose of a seasonal influenza vaccine.

The flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of catching flu and may lessen the severity of the symptoms.

When you get the Flu vaccines, they cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

Some people don’t get the flu vaccine because they think it could cause the flu. This is incorrect. The flu shot is an inactivated influenza vaccine (“dead vaccine”). You can’t get the flu from a flu shot. Common side effects from a flu shot include soreness, redness, and/or swelling where the shot was given, mild headache and low-grade fever can also occur which usually resolved within a couple of days

FluMist, (nasal spray vaccine) while safe for most people, contains a weakened form of the virus, so people with certain conditions should get a shot instead. Flumist is approved for use in healthy non-pregnant individuals, 2 years through 49 years of age.

For more additional information, visit the CDC website here. #FightFlu

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