All About Flu Shots
The Concise Guide to Flu Shots and Vaccinations
The Flu is the more common term for “Influenza”, an infectious disease that can require hospitalization and sometimes leads to death. The flu strikes differently each year and is experienced differently by different people. Sometimes the flu is over and done with plenty of liquids and bed rest. But each year, of the millions of people who catch the flu hundreds of thousands need medical care and tens of thousands more died from the flu and related conditions.
The flu is characterized as being highly infectious and even healthy people can act as carriers. Infection is most prevalent after October and before May each year, a period of time affectionately known as “Flu Season”.
An annual flu vaccines has been found to be the best preventative measure for controlling and limiting the spread of influenza during flu season. The more people that are vaccinated the less contagion can be present within a community.
How do flu vaccines work?
The flu vaccine allows the body to develop special antibodies within two weeks of the vaccination. These antibodies will provide a targeted defense against the flu virus should it arrive in the body.
Qualified researchers will produce a list of three or possibly four of the most likely viruses to strike during the next flu season. The traditional flu vaccine, also called the “trivalent” vaccine, contains a trifecta of these three common flu viruses, influenza A virus “H1N1”, influenza A virus “H3N2” and an influenza B virus.
Today there are also “quadrivalent” vaccines and as their name implies these flu vaccines protect against the four most common viruses. The quadrivalent vaccine protects against the same three viruses as the trivalent and an additional influenza B virus.
What kinds of flu vaccines are available?
The vaccine and application should be properly measured to the patient and their respective age group and other particulars. There are both quadrivalent (four-component) trivalent (three-component) flu vaccines available.
Trivalent flu vaccines include:
IIV3 (Standard Dose Trivalent Shots) — You will find the carefully cultured eggs of the flu virus in the standard-dose trivalent shots. The conventional trivalent flu vaccine is generally administered into the upper arm with needle.
Jet Injectors — One option for 18 to 65 community involves a specially formulated trivalent vaccine administered with a jet injector.
Recombinant Trivalent Shot — this option contains no manufactured eggs, this is the approved option for those over 65 and pregnant women.
Adjuvant and High Dose Trivalent Shots — other trivalent vaccines include an adjuvant which will increase the efficacy by enhancing the immune reaction in a patient’s body or an increased dosage These are the approved options for those older the age of 65.
Quadrivalent flu vaccines include:
Quadrivalent flu shots — these are the most conventional option and are approved for all ages even children as young as half a year.
Intradermal Quadrivalent Flu Shot — as opposed to being injected into the muscle of the arm, this shot only needs to be administered to the skin and uses a very small and painless needle. This is an approved option for the 18 to 65 age brackets. which is injected into the skin instead of the muscle and uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot.
Quadrivalent flu shot with viruses from cell culture — is an injected option that can be applied to children as young as four years old.
Who Should Be Vaccinated this Year?
According to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the Flu Vaccine is recommendable every year for children as young as 6 months old. Vaccinations are also especially important for those with a tendency for greater complications resulting from the flu.
When should I get vaccinated?
The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to reach maximum efficacy. After you have been vaccinated the body will begin to produce antibodies against the flu, these will reach maximum protection in two weeks. The CDC recommends receiving theses vaccines at the end of October by the very latest as the flu season is in full swing by then. However, it is still effective to receive the vaccine as late as January or February if you haven’t fallen sick yet.
Children need to begin the vaccination process earlier as they will need to receive two separate doses applied four weeks from each other.
Why Do Vaccinations Need to Be Applied Each Year?
You will need to have a vaccine applied each year for two important reasons. For one, the effects of the vaccination can wear off over time and a booster is needed to keep the defenses up. The second reason is that flu viruses change from year to year and the formulation of this flu vaccine is changed and updated for maximum protection.
So, for reasons of maximum protection, everyone should have flu vaccine every 6 months.