Why is it important to get a flu shot every flu season?


Children have started going to school and I’m so happy that my daughter gets to go back to her school. But school also means cold, cough, and flu. And I’m not looking forward to that.


I was searching for ways in which I could protect her from the flu. The Facebook live session I attended recently with eminent doctors Dr. Sadanand S Shetye and Dr. Mangesh Tiwaskar from Mumbai, was a great help.


I gained insights on why the flu shot is essential and who has to take it and how effective it can be. The session also brought out awareness of safety practices among children during the flu season.


What is flu?


Flu is caused by the influenza virus infecting the throat, nose, and lungs. Usually, during the monsoon season, it peaks, and young children, old people, pregnant women, and people with chronic diseases are the age groups prone to higher risk.1 If the infection is severe, it requires hospitalization. The virus can be treated if proper hygiene precautions and timely flu vaccination are taken.1


The severe infection can lead to bacterial pneumonia, sinus, and the worsening of chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, and heart diseases.1


The flu vaccine, its importance, and efficacy
Flu vaccines are crucial to prevent flu because the rate of spreading of the flu infection is faster than compared to other diseases. It can spread through contact, airborne drops, saliva, or touching a contaminated surface.1


The flu vaccine is thus a boon that helps in preventing the infection. The flu vaccine protects against four influenza viruses which are commonly prevalent during the flu season. Everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot to keep themselves protected from the virus.2


The aim of taking the vaccination is that it can help in preventing flu and its serious complications. There are different vaccines available, the suitability of which can be assessed by your consulting doctor.2


Another factor that needs to be kept in mind is that the effectiveness can vary in the vaccines. This is primarily because of the virus match between the one in the vaccine and one that’s in circulation. If the match is good, the protection is substantial. The effectiveness also depends on the person who is getting vaccinated viz, their health conditions, and age.2


Just like any vaccine, the flu vaccine does not guarantee that one might not get the flu. However, it decreases the severity of the infection.2

Other advantages that you have when you have taken the vaccine are:

  • Flu-related hospitalization is less when compared to people who are not vaccinated.2
  • It helps the people around you. By getting vaccinated, you have a less likely chance of getting flu and thus spreading it.3


The flu vaccine helps in developing antibodies in the body post two weeks of vaccination which can help in fighting against the flu virus that is in circulation.4
If you have been vaccinated last year that doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get infected this year because the virus changes. Each year the vaccine is updated to include the latest virus.3 As our continued effort in this #FightAgainstFlu, the vaccine must be taken each year by eligible individuals.


After gaining all this information, I am sure you are going to consult your doctor and get a flu vaccination at the earliest.



References

  1. https://www.mothersagainstinfluenza.in/
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/flushot.htm
  3. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/flu-vaccine.html
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm

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