Should You Get the Flu Vaccine?

If you have ever caught the Flu, you’re well aware of the misery it brings. And although it’s one of the most important annual vaccinations everyone should get, many still neglect to get the influenza shot. Each year another flu vaccine is produced, which aims to combat new strains of the virus. According to one family doctor soldotna ak residents that don’t get the flu vaccine could succumb to headaches and backaches, muscle pain, chills, an irritating cough, and high fevers. The entire body reacts in some way to the flu.

The good news is that most healthy people survive the flu. If the body’s own defenses stand up to the flu, then the flu will be over after about five to seven days. However, flu patients are often left experiencing a cough and exhaustion for a bit longer.

Flu Vaccines Are Nothing to Fear

Even with all the news reports of how bad the flu can become, people still neglect to protect themselves. In part, what bothers people is the very nature of the vaccine. There are two types of flu vaccine you can get: an injection containing the inactive virus and a nasal spray containing live virus, but much weaker. Spray side effects may include runny nose or sore throat. But the injection is not like, some others in which what you get a tiny amount of the infection to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies. The virus involved in the anti-influenza vaccine is alive but has been attenuated during production, and the vaccine is tested to make sure it is no longer virulent. And as for any side effects, the most typical complaint is a bit of pain at the site of the injection.

So Why Do Vaccinated People Still Catch the Flu?

Immunity against the virus takes two weeks to develop, so they may have contracted influenza just before or after the injection. As for a small set of other people whom catch the flu after vaccination, this has more to do with different strains of the virus. Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) selects three viruses that it believes will be the most likely to circulate during the winter, and then vaccine production begins. But this is only an informed prediction about the strains, but there is always the possibility that the virus that attacks is not one of those three. That’s also why doctors say the flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective. It is riskier not to get the vaccine, especially for those over the age of 65, or those with a compromised immune system. Each year the elderly or chronically ill patients should be vaccinated early before the flu season starts.

Keep in mind, catching the flu can bring about other complications, like pneumonia and ear infections. And for a person that already has a compromised immune system, the flu can chronically impact their health. It makes more sense to get the vaccination for precautionary measures than to gamble with your health.