The common flu, or influenza, is an illness that affects about 20% of the population throughout the country every year. This seemingly harmless virus may lead to a number of health complications, which can be life threatening. Flu shots are one of the most efficient ways to prevent this viral infection, and the unsurmountable complications that it might cause. Within a few weeks of receiving the shot, the vaccine is effective in preventing viral infections.
Because the flu season begins in October, one should get immunized as early as possible. Ideally, flu shots should be received in September or October, to help prevent infection when the flu season arrives. One can also receive shots in December, as the flu season continues through May.
Types of Flu Shots
Understanding the different types of flu shots would be helpful to decide what flu shot is right for you. Here are the four different types of flu shots:
- Traditional – This shot is injected in the muscles and stimulates the immune system to prevent infections.
- High-dose shot – This is generally used for people over 65-years-old. Higher doses present in the shot help to stimulate an aging immune system.
- Intradermal shot – This is used for people between the ages of 18-years-old and 64-years-old. This shot is injected right beneath the skin.
- Nasal spray – Nasal spray flu shots contain live attenuated vaccines and can be used for people between the ages of 2-years-old and 49-years-old.
The flu vaccines comes in two forms, based on the number of strains they are effective against; these are trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines. Trivalent, as the name indicates, is a vaccine that gives protection against three different strains of the flu, two types of influenza A viruses and the influenza B virus. Quadrivalent vaccines are effective against four different strains of viruses, including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
Everyone should receive a flu shot, especially if they are at a higher risk of developing flu-related complications. Children younger than 2-years-old and elders older than 65-years-old are recommended to have flu shots without fail. People with chronic diseases, involving the heart and lungs, and those who are in close contact with the highly infectious people should also receive flu shots.
Studies show that flu vaccines are safe and have very few side effects. Some of the mild side effects of the vaccination include: