The flu vaccination is a preventive measure that can help protect individuals from the flu. It works by stimulating the body’s immune system to produce antibodies that can fight off the flu virus. In this article, we will discuss how the flu vaccination works and who should get it.
How the Flu Vaccination WorksThe flu vaccination works by introducing a small amount of the flu virus into the body. This virus is either dead or weakened, so it cannot cause the flu. Once this virus is introduced, the body’s immune system recognizes it as a foreign invader and produces antibodies to fight it off. These antibodies remain in the body, ready to fight off the flu virus if it is encountered again. This means that if you are exposed to the flu virus after receiving the vaccination, your body will be better equipped to fight it off, reducing your risk of getting sick.
Who Should Get the Flu VaccinationThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccination every year, with few exceptions. Here are some groups of people who are particularly at risk for complications from the flu and should definitely get vaccinated:
ChildrenChildren under the age of 5, especially those under the age of 2, are at an increased risk of complications from the flu. They should receive the flu vaccination every year.
Pregnant WomenPregnant women are at an increased risk of complications from the flu. The flu vaccination is safe for pregnant women and can help protect both the mother and the baby.
Older AdultsAdults over the age of 65 are at an increased risk of complications from the flu. They should receive the flu vaccination every year.
People with Chronic Medical ConditionsPeople with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease, are at an increased risk of complications from the flu. They should receive the flu vaccination every year.
Healthcare WorkersHealthcare workers have a higher risk of exposure to the flu virus. They should receive the flu vaccination every year to help protect themselves and their patients.
Caregivers of Young ChildrenCaregivers of young children have an increased risk of exposure to the flu virus. They should receive the flu vaccination every year to help protect themselves and the children in their care.
Types of Flu VaccinationsThere are several types of flu vaccinations available. However, you should check with your doctors which vaccinations they carry as different countries may have different laws regarding vaccinations. These are common types of flu vaccination available:
Inactivated or Killed Virus VaccinesThese vaccines are made from viruses that have been killed or inactivated. These vaccines are injected into the muscle and are typically recommended for people over the age of 6 months. This is the most common type of flu vaccine available in Singapore.
Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV)Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) is a nasal spray that contains a weakened form of the flu virus. LAIV is approved for use by the CDC in healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49 who are not pregnant.
High-Dose Flu VaccineHigh-dose flu vaccine is a vaccine that contains four times the amount of antigen as a standard flu vaccine. It is approved in some countries for use in adults over the age of 65.
Risks and Side Effects of the Flu VaccinationThe flu vaccination is generally safe and well-tolerated. However, like all vaccines, it can cause side effects. The most common side effects of the flu vaccination include:
- Soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site
- Muscle aches