While how well the flu vaccine works can vary, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against flu and its potentially serious complications. Millions of people have safely received flu vaccines for decades. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
A flu vaccination does not guarantee protection against the flu. Some people who get vaccinated might still get sick. However, people who get a flu vaccine are less likely to get sick with flu or hospitalized from flu than someone who does not get vaccinated.
Why do I need to get vaccinated every year?
New flu vaccines are released every year to keep up with rapidly adapting flu viruses. Because flu viruses evolve so quickly, last year's vaccine may not protect you from this year's viruses.
After vaccination, your immune system produces antibodies that will protect you from the vaccine viruses. In general, though, antibody levels start to decline over time — another reason to get a flu shot every year.
Flu vaccines bring down the risks of suffering from flu. However, its effectiveness is based on different factors.
Age: Usually, the flu vaccine happens to work the best for healthy adults. However, these vaccines cannot work as well with children, especially infants (below the age of 2-3 years). Nevertheless, the efficacy improves with age. Since older people are more prone to contracting the flu virus, it is essential that they get themselves vaccinated. Even if the vaccine is not able to ward off the flu entirely, it can still help reduce the risks to some extent.
General Health: Vaccine spurs immunity into action. It helps your body in identifying and fighting the virus. The efficacy of the flu vaccine solely depends on the capability of your body’s immunity system and how well it responds to the virus. Chronic illnesses weaken your body’s defence mechanism and with a poor immunity system, the vaccine may not work properly.
The time of the vaccination: For optimal protection, it is advised to go for the vaccination every year right before the ‘flu’ season starts. This is because after the flu season gets done with, old vaccines may not work as effectively.
The flu vaccine needs to be updated every season to guard you against the kind of flu dominant in that particular year. Getting yourself vaccinated is also not a guaranteed foolproof protection, however, it does render partial immunity and helps reduce the severity of the symptoms. However, it should be noted that flu vaccine cannot shield one from cold viruses.
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.
However, with an annual shot of influenza vaccine, you can stay immune to the infection, and more the number of people getting vaccinated, lesser the number of contagious infections.
How does the influenza vaccine work?
Influenza vaccine leads to the production of antibodies in the body within two weeks after taking the vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against the infection from the viruses which are present in the vaccine. The seasonal influenza vaccine shields the body from the flu viruses that are most rampant during various seasons.
Viruses that you are protected from
The traditional flu vaccine which is more commonly referred to as trivalent vaccine is meant to protect against three types of flu viruses. These are:
There are also flu vaccines available which protect against four types of viruses known as the quadrivalent viruses. They protect from the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine along with an extra influenza B virus.
Types of flu vaccines
The doctors recommend using injectable influenza vaccines that include an inactivated influenza vaccine, as well as a recombinant influenza vaccine. As discussed earlier, there are two types of vaccines available.
The trivalent vaccine:
This vaccine includes standard dose shots. These are manufactured using the virus that is grown in eggs. Most of the flu shots are given in the muscle in the arm.
The quadrivalent influenza vaccine:
Quadrivalent influenza shots are approved for people of varying age groups. This includes older people and infants as young as 6 months. Sometimes, an intradermal influenza shot is injected into a muscle. This shot makes use of a much finer needle as compared to the regular shot needles.
The nasal spray vaccination:
The nasal spray flu vaccination, commonly referred to as LAIV, is a type of attenuated vaccine that has live, weakened virus. An alternative to the needle shots, the nasal spray can be administered to anyone between ages 2 and 49 and are not pregnant. Both the nasal spray and the needle shots provide immunity to the seasonal flu infections and have proven to be very effective.
The symptoms of seasonal flu infections range from a cough and runny nose to fevers and chills. It can cause moderate to severe discomfort to the patient, and the infection is contagious.
Hence, to prevent yourself from getting sick and spreading to others, getting vaccinated with Influenza vaccine every year is crucial.
We all have used homeopathy as a cure, and we know from experience that it works. This complementary modality of healing works on the principle of ‘like kills like’. All homeopathic medicines are derived from natural sources and are then diluted and ‘potentized’ to make them safe.
Here are a few common ailments that respond very well to homoeopathic medicines:
Common Cold - There are homeopathic remedies for common cold and hay fever. They are very effective when there is a watery, and burning nasal discharge from the nose. Some of the homeopathic medicines are also excellent cures for influenza. They are useful in treating body aches that accompany fever.
Shock and Trauma From Injury - Homeoapthic medicines are the best for trauma due to injuries and is an excellent first aid. They also help to reduce pain and speeds up the healing process.
A Sore Throat - Homeopathic medicines help during the onset of a sore throat and curing tonsillitis.
Nerve Problems - Homeopathic medicines are very effective in curing injuries to the nerves or to parts of the body rich with them, like the back. They are especially good for treating shooting pains.
Psychiatric Ailments - Homeopathic medicines are most effective in treating acute grief, anxiety, and depression, especially due to loss of a loved one.
Cramps - Homeopathic medicines are most effective remedy for cramps, including menstrual cramps.
Indigestion - Homeopathic medicines effectively treat indigestion. They are very effective in relieving symptoms of flatulence, constipation/diarrhoea and heartburn. They are extremely useful for getting rid of gas after food.
Homeopathic medicines are very effective for people suffering from sprains and strains. They are especially useful when the person suffers from more pain when he starts moving after resting. They can also treat symptoms of arthritis and flu.
Remember to take these medicines in the 6th or 30th potency only. If you are suffering from minor pain or discomfort, you should take the medicine 3 times a day but if the discomfort is severe, you can take the medicine every 1 to 3 hours, tapering off later.
If you do not observe at least some improvement even after 24 hours of taking the medicine, it probably is the wrong one. Consider taking another medicine or better still, consult a trained homoeopathic doctor. It is also best if you treat yourself for non-threatening acute conditions only and go for professional care for chronic conditions.
Common cold, like the name suggests, is one of the most common diseases in the world. It is a communicable disease, mainly occurring during seasonal change, even though it is not chronic in nature. And homeopathy has the most effective medicines which treat common cold without the side effects offered by allopathic medicines, such as drowsiness.
This homeopathic medicine is recommended when the most preliminary signs of common cold appear, such as getting thirsty frequently and being overly-anxious.
Belladonna is for more severe signs of cold, such as high fever and persistence of a throbbing headache.
3. Natrum mur
This medicine is effective for a runny nose, with initially clear snot thickening after a period of 24-48 hours.
4. Nux vomica
Nux vomica is effective for constant sensation of chill, with warmth not felt even in the comfort of the bed. It is also effective for headaches, blocked nose, body-aches, and nausea as results of the cold.
6. Eupatorium perf
This medicine is effective in case of recurring thirst, sore muscles and bones, and immense headache that get worse on any kind of movement.
7. Arsenicum iod
If you are experiencing continuous sneezing with burning sensation and a nasal discharge, this is the medicine you should take.
8. Ferrum Phos
This medicine is also given at the preliminary stage, when the onset is slow, with mild fever, which gets worse especially with the approach of night.
When you have a nose with dense discharge and blocked ears, remember that these symptoms may worsen at night. This is the medicine best suited to your cold in such a situation.
It is a homeopathic remedy for flu. The medicine, which is diluted and potentized, strengthens the immune system to fight against flu viruses. It does not suppress the symptoms but makes your immune system strong to not allow foreign viruses affect your health.
Having a fever makes you feel weak such that you don’t feel like doing anything. Medical treatment for flu includes usage of antiviral drugs as prescribed for decreasing the severity and duration of the infection. You may also consult your doctor to know about the antibiotics that can treat bacterial infections which may arise as an effect of flu. However, antibiotics are not always required for treating viral infections like flu. On the contrary, you can also follow a few home remedies to get rid of your suffering.
Home remedies for treating flu
You can treat flu by following a few home remedies like resting in bed and avoiding physical exertion. Hydration is very important and minor pains and aches can be relieved with over-the-counter medications as prescribed by the physician. You should avoid spreading the flu virus and germs and wash your hands often.
With these simple homemade tips, you would be able to control the symptoms of flu. But in case it does not subside, you shall have to seek medical assistance.
Do you suffer from a runny nose all the time? Have you been suffering from a viral illness and are worried that you might spread it to your children?
Viral infections spread rapidly, but the good news is that you can prevent that from happening with some simple and easy steps.
Here are the simple ways to stop viral infections from spreading between individuals.
1. Cover your mouth when you cough
When you cough, you release thousands of tiny droplets of your saliva into the air. These droplets are not visible to the naked eye. However, they are packed with the virus that is causing the infection. Covering your mouth with your hand or a tissue can help prevent the spread of this infection to others.
2. Use a tissue, not a handkerchief
A tissue can be disposed of immediately after it's used. It is unlikely you will do the same with a handkerchief. If you repeatedly use the same kerchief to sneeze, cough or blow your nose into, you risk getting re-exposed to the virus.
3. Use a hand sanitizer
Every time you cough or sneeze and keep your mouth covered with your hands, use a hand sanitizer. These are readily available in most supermarkets and pharmacies these days. There are even sprays and tiny pocket sanitizer tubes available, so there is no excuse not to use them.
4. Get vaccinated
These days, the flu vaccine is available that can help protect you from picking up and getting infected by these viruses. While there might be some difficulty procuring these, most hospital pharmacies will have them. Ask your doctor about getting the flu vaccine once a year to keep you protected.
5. Catch it, bin it and kill it.
This is a popular dictum in the UK to prevent the spread of the flu virus. Catch the virus using a clean tissue, bin the tissue and then kill the virus by washing your hands with soap and water.
These simple steps should help you reduce the risk of contracting or spreading viral illnesses.