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Is annual flu vaccination mandatory?

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A flu shot annually can make your life easier

Flu (Influenza):

Flu is a common infection caused by influenza virus.

The respiratory viral infection leads to complications like pneumonia and hospitalization.

The virus spreads through the air, when the infected person cough or sneeze or touches the infected surfaces and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.

The symptoms of flu are much more severe than symptoms of common cold.

Symptoms of flu:

  • fever
  • sore throat or cough
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • body ache
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • vomiting and diarrhea (common in children)

The flu can catch you anytime and make you sick for days. It can also lead to serious complications affecting your life.

Influenza occurs globally with an annual attack rate estimated at 5-10 % in adults and 20-30 % in children.

Why should people get vaccinated against flu?

Influenza can be dangerous and even life threatening to some people leading to hospitalization and even death.

During typical flu season, millions of people get flu every year, many people get hospitalized and many even die from flu related complications.

When a person get infected with flu, it can lead to feeling sick, missed work, school or more serious illness.

Complications of flu include:

  • Ear infection
  • Sinus infections
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Conditions of people with chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes get worsened if they get infected with flu virus.

Why do people need to get flu vaccination every year?

There are two reasons to get vaccinated with flu vaccine every year.

First reason

  • A persons immunity protection from vaccine declines over time, so annual flu vaccine is recommended for protection

Second reason

  • Flu viruses are constantly changing and the composition of flu is reviewed annually and updated to protect against different strains of virus during the upcoming flu year.

For the best protection, everyone above 6 months and older should get vaccinated annually.

You are at a higher risk of developing flu related complications if you are:

  • 65 years old or older
  • Kids younger than 5 years old and particularly younger than 2 years old
  • Pregnant or two weeks postpartum
  • Extremely obese
  • Living in long-term care facility
  • Have weakened immune system
  • Have chronic illness, such as diabetes, asthma or COPD
  • Have a liver or kidney disorder

Who should get vaccinated with the flu vaccine?

Flu shots are important for most people.

  • Everyone should get vaccinated by the vaccine appropriate to that age.
  • There are standard dose inactivated flu vaccines approved for people as young as 6 months of age.
  • Some vaccines are approved for adults aged 18 years and older and some vaccines are approved for people 65 years and older.
  • Pregnant women and person with chronic health conditions can get a flu shot.
  • People with long term health conditions
  • Frontline health and social care workers

Who should not get vaccinated with the flu vaccine?

People who should not get a flu shot includes:

  • Children younger than 6 months of age.
  • People with severe allergies to any of the ingredients of the vaccine.
  • If you had severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of flu vaccine, then you should talk to your health care provider.

People should talk to their health care provider before getting a flu shot.

Benefits of Flu vaccination:

The benefits of flu vaccination are as under:

  • Flu vaccination can protect you from getting infected with flu virus.
  • It reduces the severity of illness in people who gets vaccinated and still gets infected with flu.
  • Flu vaccination reduces the risk of hospitalization due to flu infection.
  • It is an important preventive tool for some people with chronic health conditions.
  • During the pregnancy, flu vaccination protects pregnant women and their babies from getting infected with flu in their few months of life.
  • Flu vaccination is life-saving in children.
  • Flu vaccination not only protect you, but it also protects your community.

How does the flu vaccine work?

Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against influenza viruses that research indicates will be the most common during upcoming flu seasons.

Flu vaccines takes about two weeks to develop antibodies after getting vaccinated.

So, it is better to get vaccinated before the flu season starts and protect yourself and others against influenza virus infection.

Side effects of flu vaccine:

Flu vaccines are very safe. However, minor side effects which are observed are as under:

  • a slightly raised temperature
  • muscle ache
  • sore arm

These side effects are usually mild and short-lasting as compared to the symptoms and complications of flu.

Safety of Flu vaccine:

Flu vaccines are tested for safety and effectiveness by the regulatory bodies before they can be used.

Prevention of Flu:

Prevention is the key to avoid flu and its complications.

By getting vaccinated with flu vaccine annually is the best way to reduce the complications.

Apart from the annual flu vaccination, there are other ways to protect yourself against flu infection such as:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and specially after sneezing and coughing or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face, mouth or nose with your hands.
  • Avoid crowded places.
  • Eat healthy and exercise for boosting your immune system.
  • Regularly disinfect surfaces in your home.

In case of any doubt related to flu vaccination, consult your Doctor or book a free consultation at INVC.

Sources:

www.cdc.gov

www.nhs.uk

www.nhsinform.scot

www.healthline.com

www.indianexpress.com

 

 

 

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