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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Annual Flu Vaccine: 11 Key Facts You Should Know About This Vaccine

The arrival of autumn and the subsequent colder months also herald the arrival of something else. It is the yearly flu season. Today, people are more concerned about getting susceptible to flu as the coronavirus pandemic rages in the world. The flu season is marked by an increase in the number of its cases. It mainly covers the winter months of November and December and stretches all the way till March. As nations are already reeling under the shock of the pandemic, an increase in the number of patients being admitted for flu will only increase the burden on healthcare facilities. In such a scenario, getting a flu vaccine is imperative for every individual who wants to save themselves from becoming a victim to it.

What Is Seasonal Flu?

the seasonal flu vaccine

A sick woman, Credit: Canva

Seasonal flu or seasonal influenza is a viral infection that causes the occurrence of fever, dry cough, joint and muscle pain, headaches, runny nose, and soreness in the throat. One of its defining characteristics is the cough that accompanies it. This cough is of a very severe kind and the person who gets it is not able to recover from it even after a few days. The patient needs at least 14 days or more to recover. If taken care of by the flu vaccine in time, or by availing the suitable treatment, one can easily recover from it in a week’s time. However, if left untreated it can even result in death.

How Is Seasonal Flu Different from Coronavirus Flu?

annual flu vs coronavirus flu

virus illustration, Credit: Canva

The main difference between the two cases of flu is that seasonal flu is marked by its regular arrival during winters. Most people are already immune to seasonal flu and those who are not can easily make themselves immune to it through a flu vaccine. For coronavirus, people do not have any immunity as it is a new kind of virus. Also, there is no vaccine available for it, unlike the flu vaccine for influenza. Seasonal flu mostly targets certain sections of the population like the elderly, infants, expecting women and persons suffering from obesity or other health condition. This is in marked contrast to coronavirus which can strike any section of the population.

Facts About the Annual Flu Vaccine That You Should Know

the annual flu vaccine facts

A doctor injecting a person, Credit: Canva

1. How does the vaccine protect you?

The vaccine will protect you by forming antibodies in your body. It is to be noted that all flu vaccines do not guarantee immunity from all the four viruses. There are some which protect against only three viruses, while others are developed particularly for elderly people to give their immune system a high amount of protection.

2. How effective is the flu shot?

According to the CDC or Centre for Disease control and protection, the flu vaccine is guaranteed to minimize your flu risk by 40-60 per cent.

3. How many people get flu shots?

Around 40 to 60 per cent of people in the United States get the flu shots. In India, there is a greater need for people to become aware of the vaccine that can protect them from the viral infection.

4. When should you get a flu shot?

You might wonder, when should I get flu shot 2020 2021? should note that the vaccine will only start developing antibodies in your body two weeks after your vaccination. So, you should get vaccinated as soon as the fall season comes.

5. How long do flu shots last?

So how long is a flu vaccine good for? The flu vaccine is effective for a period of six months. After six months, the level of antibodies starts to wane. Also, the influenza virus mutates every year. Both these factors diminish the protection offered by the vaccine.

6. Can the flu shot make you sick?

No, you cannot get sick after getting vaccinated. However, you may experience certain side effects like skin redness, muscle soreness, or inflammation in the area where you were injected. Along with it, a slight fever and pain in your muscles may also occur. It may seem like you are getting sick, but in reality, you aren’t.

7. What is the best flu vaccine for 2020?

There is no best flu vaccine as there are many good options open for people to choose from. If you really want to find out which one is ideal for you, you should consult your doctor. Majorly there are two vaccines namely, inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV), live attenuated nasal spray influenza vaccine (LAIV4), or recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV).

8. Is it necessary to get the flu shot?

Every year, almost 200,000 people become victim to influenza. The death rate from this infection in children is high. Also, it spreads very quickly. You might contract the disease if you come in contact with an infected person.

9. Where should I go to get the vaccine?

You can get yourself vaccinated from your nearest hospital or pharmacy. Every health department offers a vaccine for the annual flu.

10. Should I get infected or get vaccinated?

It is not a good idea at all to get yourself infected with the virus to develop its antibodies. Flu can be dangerous, and even if you are a healthy individual, there is a risk of developing serious health complications as a result of it.

11. Can the flu vaccine make me susceptible to coronavirus infection?

No. there is no evidence from any study conducted so far about the flu vaccine making one prone to contracting COVID-19. There were some talks of the flu vaccine being connected with some types of coronaviruses early in January 2020. But these coronaviruses were seasonal ones, not the novel coronavirus which caused the pandemic.

Influenza or the seasonal flu is a serious infection that takes the lives of millions of people every year. However, it is something from which you can easily save yourself by getting vaccinated on time.

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