Everything There Is to Know About the Flu Vaccine

Everything There Is to Know About the Flu Vaccine

Yearly, some people flood flu emergency rooms in hospitals. There are severe flu seasons, where the whole emergency room is trying to deal with long queues, and temporary triage tents have to be mounted outside.

Emergency rooms at times have to turn away patients who do not have life-threatening illnesses to deal with the mounting pressure.

But this doesn’t have to be the case, every time the flu season arrives. Currently, there is a flu shot that can be administered to you and your children to protect you from other complications.

The flu vaccine is an easy way to reduce the trips to the ER.

Flu Basics

Influenza (flu) is an illness that is caused by influenza viruses. These viruses infect the upper airways, nose, lungs, and throat. Flu can be quite deadly to children, pregnant women, and older people. At times, people who have chronic conditions like diabetes or asthma can develop complications.

But in other people, it is not a situation that needs an emergency room, though it can be stressful.

Signs and Symptoms

Flu symptoms and illness may seem to resemble a common cold because of the runny nose, sore throat, and sneezing. But colds develop a bit slower, whereas flu starts suddenly. Colds are a nuisance, but with flu, your symptoms will be much worse.

Here are some of the common flu symptoms:

  • Aching muscles
  • Fever over 38 degrees Celsius
  • Feeling feverish chills
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (common in children)

These symptoms will subside in a few days, and most people will recover from the flu in under two weeks.

How Fatal Is the Flu?

There are millions of children under the age of five who get the flu and thousands find themselves being hospitalized each year. If a child has chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, and under the age of five, they are at higher risk of getting the flu and end up in the hospital.

At times complications like pneumonia can develop in people who are at high risk, which can lead to hospitalization and, in some cases, death.

How Does It Spread?

So, how is the flu spread? Flu viruses typically travel droplets in the air when an infected person speaks, sneezes or coughs. If you are in the vicinity and inhale the droplets directly or you pick up the virus from an object like a phone and then touch your eyes, mouth, or nose, then you get infected.

Rarely will a person get the flu by touching a contaminated surface then touching the eyes, mouth, or nose.

Flu Vaccine

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that people should get the annual flu vaccine. This vaccine is available for anyone who is above six months old.

Each flu shot that is administered yearly contains protection from three or four strains of the influenza virus, which are most prevalent during the flu season. The vaccine comes as a nasal spray or injection.

There are two types of vaccines available:

  • Trivalent influenza vaccine
  • Quadrivalent influenza vaccine

Most of the vaccines will have an amount of egg protein. In case you have mild egg allergies where you only get hives after eating eggs, then you can get the vaccine without extra precautions. But if you have severe allergic reactions to eggs, then you will have to take the vaccine in a hospital setting so as a doctor can manage the severe reactions.

Why Get a Vaccine?

The vaccine has been designed to cause the body to produce an immune response against the four different strains of the flu. Here are some of the reasons why vaccines are suitable for your children:

  • Reduces the chances of children being hospitalized because of flu illness
  • Reduces the risk of getting complications that are related to contracting influenza
  • Helps curb the spread of the virus to family children including young babies under six months who are vulnerable
  • Shown to save children’s lives
  • Reduces the effects of the flu for the people who are vaccinated but still get the flu

Since flu viruses are constantly changing, new vaccines have to be developed each year to protect against the flu viruses. For this reason, you will need vaccines each year, and in case you catch the flu, seek treatment at Ascent ER.

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