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Flu Shot - Why Is It So Important?

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Mohammad Ashraf Alam 89% (578ratings)
MD, MBBS, Certification Course in Diabetes
General Physician, Lucknow  •  8years experience
Flu Shot - Why Is It So Important?

There are a variety of reasons why a person can fall sick. A good number of these illnesses cannot be prevented though a person may take general precautions. Having said that, in the case of influenza, it can be prevented to a large extent and it does not seem all that smart to avoid taking easy precautions when one has an option, right?

Every year, thousands of people die from influenza, which is so unfortunate because an annual shot can reduce that number by almost 60 percent. So what exactly makes a flu shot or vaccine work? As a result of the vaccine, after about two weeks or so, antibodies begin to develop in the body. These antibodies help fight off infection, specifically the kind that is targeted by the vaccine. It is important to get vaccinated for this flu on an annual basis.

Choosing the right flu shot
Considering the great number of options there are when it comes to flu vaccines, which are the ones to be injected? It is a good idea to get the opinion of a doctor to see which one to choose. This is because the choice is dependent on a variety of factors, which a medical professional would be able to assess appropriately. Note that it is important not to use the nasal spray version of the vaccine as the medical authorities have recently found that it is not as effective a method as it once was.


When should you get it?
Flu season does vary across the world, but in the US, it starts in about October and goes on till May. During this time, the flu viruses are a lot more active. When one gets a flu shot, it is this period that one needs to look out for. So, it is better to get vaccinated in late September or the start of October, so that there is minimal unprotected exposure to the viruses.

Who is it for?
It is to be kept in mind that every individual who is older than six months should be vaccinated. While it is said that getting a vaccine shot year after year reduces its effectiveness, it is still important to do so. This is because each year, the shot is altered to reflect the biggest virus threats in that year. There might be few side effects of the flu vaccine such as redness in the injected area, soreness or swelling. However, as long as one gets a flu shot in time, it is almost a given that there will be almost no time spent ‘down with the flu’. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a general physician.

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