The Influenza Shot
We all hear the recommendations every year to get the flu shot. But why is it considered a big deal to get the shot? For most young adults, the flu is an inconvenience that goes away after a few days of sitting on the couch.
Many people don’t understand that for some people, the flu can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Pre-existing conditions and age can play a huge factor in whether the flu will be harmful to you or your loved ones.
Vaccines are available every year, but only about half of Americans receive the flu shot. Here we will look at how the flu shot works, what’s in it, and why it is essential for everyone to help prevent the spread.
How Do Flu Vaccines Work?
When you receive a flu vaccine, antibodies build up as a response to the deactivated or weakened flu virus inside the vaccine. These antibodies take about two weeks to build up and take effect after you have been vaccinated. After the antibodies develop, it is more difficult for the flu to attack your body since your immune system already knows how to respond.
The most common flu vaccines are those that protect against four different types of flu. These quadrivalent vaccines protect against both A strains (Michigan Flu and the Hong Kong flu) and two B strain viruses. Some vaccines only prevent against three types of flu, both A strains and one B strain, but these are mostly administered to promote a stronger immune system in people over 65.
Why Should People Get The Flu Vaccine?
Although we encounter the flu every year, it always has the potential to be dangerous and even deadly for some. Every flu season, hundreds of thousands of people require hospitalization, and tens of thousands die from flu-related complications.
For those who are at high risk of developing severe complications from the flu, the flu vaccine can prevent the virus from having a significant impact on your health. And for those who are not at high risk, the flu shot can prevent you from spreading the virus to high-risk individuals.
Controlling the flu virus spread is the best way to protect those who are most vulnerable, including very young children and the elderly.
Related Link: A Guide to Employee Temperature Checks
What Kinds Of Flu Vaccines Are Available?
When searching for the best flu shot for you, one of the factors to consider is age. The CDC recommends vaccines that include adjuvant, which helps induce a stronger immune response, for people over 65. Vaccines with an adjuvant can be either a trivalent or quadrivalent.
Quadrivalent vaccines have more variations than trivalent vaccines. The most common are egg-based vaccines where the virus is grown and multiplied in eggs, then extracted. Cell-based vaccines use mammal cells to grow the virus, making them egg-free. And Recombinant vaccines are a synthetic that create an immune system response.
Some egg-based vaccines are approved for children as young as 6 months old. Cell-based vaccines are approved for people 4 years old and older. Recombinant vaccines are approved for people 18 years and older.
The CDC and the FDA approved all of these vaccines.
Who Should NOT Get The Flu Vaccine?
According to the CDC, everyone over the age of 6 months old should receive a flu shot every year. The only age group that should not get the flu vaccine is children under the age of 6 months. This age group is too young to receive the vaccine.
Other than young children, only people with severe or life-threatening allergies to the flu shot ingredients are not recommended to receive the vaccine every year. Flu shots include gelatin and can consist of antibiotics that can produce an allergic reaction.
If you are concerned about if allergies will affect you, your doctor can give you more information about whether these ingredients can affect you.
Having quality temperature checks and health screenings are imperative as we open our workspaces back up. Visit HealthSpace to see how you can easily incorporate preventative measures into your business.
Who Are At High Risk For Flu Complications?
No one knows exactly how the flu will affect them if they catch the virus. However, certain groups are at a higher level of risk for flu complications than others. Adults 65 and older are at higher risk of having severe flu complications than younger people.
Adults with chronic health conditions are also more susceptible to complications. These health conditions include asthma, heart disease, strokes, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes are also part of high-risk groups concerning the flu. Suffering from liver disease, kidney disease, metabolic disorders, and a weakened immune system stemming from HIV, AIDS, or leukemia also make an individual high-risk.
Pregnant women are at higher risk of developing complications from the flu during and shortly after pregnancy. Children under two years old are also very susceptible to having dangerous complications.
When Should People Get The Flu Vaccine?
Reducing the spread of illnesses is more critical now than in recent history. With the Covid-19 pandemic still occurring, preventing any respiratory sickness from spreading in communities is extremely important.
Covid-19 and the flu have similar symptoms, however, they are different viruses and can have different effects on the body. The novel coronavirus is more contagious than the flu and transferable for a more extended period of time.
Covid-19 and the flu also have different complications associated with them. Covid-19 can result in blood clots in the heart, lungs, brain, and veins. Most notably, the flu has a CDC approved vaccine while Covid-19 does not. As of the publishing of this article, vaccines for the novel coronavirus are still not available.
With the potential of a Fall outbreak of Covid-19, it is essential to get the flu shot as early as possible. The CDC suggests vaccinating yourself before the end of October. They state that it is important to get vaccinated before a community outbreak since the vaccine takes two weeks to take effect.
Related Link: How to Respond If an Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19
Where Can People Get The Flu Vaccine?
The flu vaccine is readily available in many places. You can receive one from your primary care physician or office. For those who don’t have a primary care physician, or if you are pressed for time, they are also available at pharmacies, the health department, urgent care, and clinics.
Some workplaces and college campuses offer vaccinations as well. You can also get vaccinated at some schools. The flu shots are incredibly accessible all throughout the flu season.
Why Do People Need A Flu Vaccine Every Year?
There are two main reasons why you should receive a flu vaccine annually. The flu vaccine does not stay in your body forever. Over time the vaccine declines, making you susceptible to the flu virus once again. The second reason why you should receive one every year is because the flu virus is constantly mutating.
The virus can change season to season, so each year, a new vaccine that targets a particular strain of the flu needs to be developed. Just because you were protected from last year’s flu doesn’t mean this year’s virus is the same, and you will be protected.
What Are The Benefits Of The Flu Vaccine?
While it is still possible to contract the flu even if you get the flu shot, there are many benefits to receiving the shot for you and your community.
One of the best reasons to get the flu shot is to prevent you from spreading the flu to your family and the community. Protecting the younger and older generations if your family can be life-saving for them, even if you don’t have known health issues.
For those with chronic health issues, the flu shot is a preventative measure that can save you from becoming hospitalized or at least severely ill. The vaccine can protect you from symptoms that can irritate other illnesses.
The risk of developing complications from the flu is high for women during and after pregnancy. Getting the flu shot can protect yourself and your child from being at risk for dangerous complications. Very young children are also at risk of developing complications, so by getting the flu shot, you can be protecting the children around us.
Related Link: What Employers Should Consider for a Return to Work Policy
How HealthySpace Services Can Help
Keeping our communities safe starts at home and continues into the workplace. Knowing that your environment is safe from the flu and Covid-19 creates an atmosphere of ease throughout the workspace. That is where HealthySpace comes in.
HealthySpace is here to ensure your business has everything it needs to perform efficient and accurate screenings while answering any questions you may have. HelathySpace also inspects all PPE to make sure it meets all requirements.
Proper screenings and testing are key to maintaining a smoothly running business and an environment everyone can feel safe in!
If you want to learn the best ways to keep your workplace happy and healthy, click here to learn more about HealthySpace.
Take the Right Steps
Taking the flu vaccine every year is the best way to protect you and your family from the influenza virus. The vaccine is recommended to everyone over the age of 6 months once per year unless you may have a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. However, with multiple variations of the vaccine, talking to your doctor can get you on track to getting the flu shot.
Being safe and receiving the shot doesn’t only protect you, but it protects your workplace, your community, and your family.