Flu Immunizations

Vaccines work by forcing the body to create its own protection against a disease. Flu vaccines are no different. By introducing a number of flu viruses into the body of a patient, it is hoped that the latter’s immune system will begin to produce antibodies that will serve to fight and defeat the infection when the time comes.

Because flu strains mutate each year, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of Health, and the Canadian Public Health Services decide which viruses will probably be the most common in any given year.

The viruses, whether dead or live, will be packaged with some antigens (substances that cause antibodies to form) and made available to the general public. It is necessary to get a flu shot each year in order to get the most up-to-date protection from the virus.

Types of Immunizations

Vaccines work by forcing the body to create its own protection against a disease. Flu vaccines are no different. By introducing a number of flu viruses into the body of a patient, it is hoped that the latters immune system will begin to produce antibodies that will serve to fight and defeat the infection when the time comes.

Because flu strains mutate each year, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of Health, and the Canadian Public Health Services decide which viruses will probably be the most common in any given year.

The viruses, whether dead or live, will be packaged with some antigens (substances that cause antibodies to form) and made available to the general public. It is necessary to get a flu shot each year in order to get the most up-to-date protection from the virus.

Types of Immunizations

There are two types of vaccines. The first and more common is called the flu shot. The flu shot (generally administered through an injection in the arm) contains three strains of dead influenza viruses.

It is considered generally safe for anyone above six months of age. From six months to nine years of age, up to two flu shots can be given each year, spaced at least a month apart. After age nine, only one flu shot is needed per year.

The nasal-spray vaccine, also known as the LAIV, contains three live, albeit weakened viruses. The does is administered as through the nasal orifice, as a spray or mist. It is not considered safe for young children, pregnant women, or those above 65 years old.

Before Getting the Vaccines

Before you get a vaccine shot, you should go to your doctor and ask for his advice. There are risks to taking the vaccine, especially if you have underlying medical conditions.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you-

Are allergic to certain foods or substances. If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a certain substance, be sure to inform your doctor. For instance, if you have experienced an allergic reaction due to a past flu shot or because of some antibiotics, the vaccine might be unsafe for you.

Also, take note that the viruses used in flu shots are raised in eggs, so if you are allergic to the latter, you are probably allergic to the former.

Pregnant. The nasal-spray vaccine, known as the LAIV, is considered unsafe for women who are expecting. Pregnant women are advised to take the flu shot instead.

Have underlying medical conditions. This especially applies to the elderly. It will be useful to your doctor is he or she knows your complete medical history. This way, he or she might be able to tell you about any complications you might have to look out for.

Asthma, bronchitis, and any other condition involving the bronchial system should be revealed.

Are taking other medications. If you are taking the nasal-spray vaccine, dont forget to let your doctor know if you are using

      1) aspirin

 

      2) alkylating drugs (for cancer)

 

      3) antimetabolite drugs (for cancer)

 

      4) any type of immunosuppressive therapy

 

    5) any type of radiation therapy.

Take note that it is possible for you to suffer side effects from the vaccines. If this occurs, let your doctor know right away.