The seasonal flu is something that most people have experienced at least once in their lives. It is especially common during the winter months and can spread quickly throughout companies, households, schools and public areas. A sneezing coworker, child or teacher can leave just about anyone feeling a little nervous during the flu season.
The flu shot is a form of vaccination that contains an inactive, or killed, version of three seasonal influenza viruses, which are grown in eggs. This form of flu vaccination is administered through a needle and can protect a person from three influenza viruses that are expected to be the most prominent for the upcoming flu season.
There is another form of flu vaccination available in the form of a nasal spray. However, the nasal spray contains active, or live, viruses that may be dangerous for certain individuals, like pregnant women or those with a weakened immune system, and is only recommended for healthy individuals aged 2 through 49 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For most people, seasonal influenza is not life threatening, but without a doubt, nobody wants to deal with it. While the best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands frequently and to avoid heavily populated spaces, extra precautions should be taken, especially for those who have a weakened immune system, or may suffer from severe health complications if they were to catch the flu. This is where a seasonal flu shot can provide an added layer of protection.
While a regular seasonal flu shot makes up the majority of the vaccination supply made within the United States, according to the CDC, there are several flu shots available:
Those who might suffer from severe health complications after being infected with seasonal influenza should receive a flu shot each year. According to the CDC, the following is a list of individuals who are at a high risk for developing severe complications related to the flu:
It is important to consult your physician before receiving a flu shot as there may be certain individuals who may suffer a reaction to the vaccination. The following is a list of indicators that may cause a physician to advice against a flu shot:
Even if you have never suffered from a reaction to the flu shot, it is recommended that you consult your physician before vaccination, especially if you are currently sick with a fever. Your doctor may advice that you receive your vaccination at a later time.
One common misconception about the flu shot is that it infects an individual with the flu. This is not true. The viruses used in flu shots are inactive and cannot cause infection. There is relatively low risk for flu shots to cause a harmful reaction or death.
Side effects that may occur from getting a flu shot include:
These side effects should subside shortly after the flu shot is administered, but may last up to several days.