Influenza viruses cause flu, a highly contagious respiratory illness. Flu affects the lungs, throat, and nose and can cause mild to severe illness. You can prevent flu by getting a flu vaccine every year.
Read on to learn key facts about the flu shot.
Why Should People Get Vaccinated Against Flu?
Influenza is a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization or even death. Every flu season is different and the infection can affect people differently. However, getting vaccinated against flu is helpful to reduce the risk of hospitalizations, flu illnesses, and flu-related deaths.
What Kinds of Flu Vaccines Are Available?
There are different types of flu vaccines available, including:
- A high-dose influenza vaccine
- A trivalent influenza shot made with adjuvant
- A standard-dose quadrivalent influenza shot
- A recombinant quadrivalent influenza shot
- A quadrivalent cell-based influenza shot
- A live attenuated influenza vaccine (nasal spray)
What Type of Flu Activity Is Expected in 2019-20 Flu Season?
The timing, severity, and length of the flu season vary every year. Getting vaccinated before the viruses spread in your community will protect you, your family and friends from the infection.
Why Is the Nasal Flu Shot Spray Being Recommended This Season When It Hasn’t Been Effective Before?
The effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies every season depending on people’s health conditions and age, the virus type and subtype, and the vaccine type. The flu seasons’ data from 2010 to 2017 indicates that nasal spray vaccination lacked effectiveness against H1N1 viruses. However, a new H1N1 vaccine virus is being used in the production of the nasal flu vaccine. Some data indicate that the new H1N1 vaccine virus used in the nasal flu shot will result in improved effectiveness against H1N1 viruses. Based on this data, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend nasal flu shot spray this season.
Are There Any Side Effects of Flu Vaccine? How Long Do They Last?
A flu vaccine may cause side effects in some patients depending on their age and health conditions. These side effects are mild and last one to two days.
What Side Effects Can Occur After Getting a Flu Vaccine?
A flu shot can cause side effects such as:
- Muscle aches
- Soreness, swelling or redness at the injection site
Side effects of the nasal spray vaccine can include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Low-grade fever
Can I Still Get the Flu After Getting Vaccinated?
You can get the flu even after you have been vaccinated if you are:
- Above 65 years of age and suffering from chronic illnesses
- Exposed to a virus that is not included in the seasonal flu shot
- Exposed to a flu virus right before or after you are vaccinated
Can You Spread the Flu After Getting Vaccinated?
A flu vaccine requires two weeks to develop immunity and antibodies in your body that protect against the flu virus. Until then, you can spread the flu even after being vaccinated.
When Is the Best Time to Get a Flu Shot?
You should get vaccinated before the flu season begins or viruses start spreading in your community. This season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the end of October is the best time to get a flu vaccine.
Where Can I Get a Flu Vaccine?
A flu vaccine is offered at:
- Health departments
- Urgent care clinics
- Doctors’ offices
- College health centers
- Some offices and schools
Why Do I Need a Flu Vaccine Every Year?
You need a flu vaccine every year for two reasons:
- The effectiveness of a flu vaccine declines over time, so you need an annual flu shot for optimal protection.
- The flu vaccines are updated every season depending on the flu viruses that may be circulating during the upcoming flu season.