It’s that time of year! The combination of the change in the weather and the holiday germ-sharing gatherings is the perfect time for getting the flu!
Viruses love the holidays— lots of:
- Parties and get-together with large groups of people close
- Hugs, handshakes, and communal food sharing
- Immune systems over-taxed from the long days and nights and the stress of getting everything together
This all creates the perfect breeding ground for viruses.
Don’t Want the Flu?
Get your vaccine! You may think that it’s too late, but it’s not. If you haven’t already contracted the flu, you can decrease your chances of getting it by getting a flu shot as soon as possible.
They aren’t hard to find. And many insurance companies will cover this preventative measure. Even if your insurance does not cover it, the shot isn’t too expensive.
And if you do a little digging, you can probably find clinics or organizations that are offering the shot at a discount or even for free.
Why Should You Get Vaccinated Against the Flu?
Although most cases of flu will come and go, sometimes the flu will take you out for weeks. It can even lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.
It’s surprising millions of people contract the flu every year. Out of those millions, physicians admit hundreds of thousands of patients to the hospital. And tens of thousands die from flu-related causes.
One of the best ways to avoid coming down with the flu is getting an annual seasonal flu vaccine. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
“During 2017-2018, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 6.2 million influenza illnesses, 3.2 million influenza-associated medical visits, 91,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 5,700 influenza-associated deaths.”
How Does the Flu Shot Work?
Each year, researchers determine the influenza viruses that may be most prevalent in the coming year.
Researchers then use viruses to make the vaccines. About two weeks after the vaccine is injected into your body, antibodies that protect against these viruses develop.
Is There More Than One Kind of Flu Shot?
There are many influenza vaccine products providers recommend for use made by a variety of influenza vaccine manufacturers.
The CDC recommends age-appropriate influenza vaccines and does not endorse any specific influenza vaccine over another.
Most flu vaccines in the United States are quadrivalent, meaning they protect against four different flu viruses.
They protect against an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses. Standard-dose quadrivalent influenza shots like:
- Fluria Quadrivalent
- Fluarix Quadrivalent
- FluLaval Quadrivalent
- Fluzone Quadrivalent
Researchers manufacture these vaccines using viruses grown in eggs. A quadrivalent cell-based influenza shot like Flucelvax. This version of the vaccine contains virus grown in cell culture, and the CDC licenses it for people four years and older.
Recombinant quadrivalent influenza shots like Flublok Quadrivalent. This is an egg-free vaccine the CDC approves for people 18 years and older.
Some flu vaccines are trivalent, meaning that they protect against three different flu viruses. They protect against an:
- Influenza A (H1N1) virus
- Influenza A (H3N2) virus
- One influenza B virus
And of the trivalent vaccines, researchers designed two specifically for people 65 and older to boost immune response. Trivalent influenza vaccines include:
- A trivalent influenza shot made with an adjuvant called Fluad for people 65 years and older.
- A high-dose influenza vaccine called Fluzone High-Dose for people 65 years and older.
Who Should Get The Flu Shot?
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an influenza vaccine every season. There are very few exceptions to this guideline.
So, if you want more information about who falls into the latter group, explore these resources:
- People who cannot get an influenza shot
- People who should talk to their doctor before getting the influenza shot
When Should I Get the Flu Shot?
It’s best to get vaccinated against the flu before the virus begins to spread throughout your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop and protect against flu, so it’s best to get the vaccine before you are exposed.
Therefore, the CDC recommends getting your flu shot by the end of October. Don’t worry. If you didn’t get your chance in October, it’s still beneficial to get a flu shot as late as January or February.
But don’t get your shot too early— like in July or August. This will decrease the protection against the infection later in the season.
Where Can I Get a Flu Shot?
You don’t have to have a primary care doctor to get the vaccine. There are a variety of places where you can get a vaccine:
- Doctor’s offices
- Health departments
- College health centers
- Some employers, schools, and colleges offer shots
- Urgent care clinics
I Got the Vaccine, Can I Get the Flu?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. If the virus comes into contact with you:
- Before your provider gives you the vaccine or during the period it takes your body to gain protection, you might come down with the virus.
- You may come down with the flu because the vaccine did not include the seasonal virus.
- And you are older, have certain chronic diseases, or have other health issues, you may come down with the virus.
So, the good news is even if you do get sick, studies have shown the vaccination can reduce the severity of illness.
We Can Help
Above all, we hope this article provides everything you need to know about protecting yourself and your family. Being informed is the first part of the battle— the next part is to take action.
So, if you are ready to take the next step and let us help you protect yourself and love ones against the flu virus, we’re here to help!