Reasons to Get an Annual Flu Shot
The flu is much more serious than the common cold – it is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can cause high fever, coughing, sore throat, chills, body aches, and fatigue. What’s more, influenza can sometimes have serious complications, such as ear infections, bronchitis, sinusitis, and pneumonia. Even very healthy people can be blindsided by flu infection, which can lead to up to two weeks or more of complete and utter misery.
An annual vaccine is the single best way to protect against becoming infected by the flu and spreading it to others. The vaccine should be administered once every flu season for two reasons. First, the body’s immune system response to vaccination naturally declines over time. Therefore, a yearly booster is needed to ensure optimal protection. Second, flu viruses are constantly mutating and changing. Each year, the traditional flu vaccine is specifically formulated to protect against the strains of virus that research indicates will be the most prevalent during the upcoming season.
The flu vaccine is usually made available sometime in the early fall and offered continually throughout flu season, which generally peaks in January and can extend through May. Usually, it takes about two weeks after receiving the vaccination for the protective antibodies to develop in the body, so it’s important to receive a shot as early in the season as possible in order to be fully protected.
No one enjoys being stuck by a needle, but the flu vaccine is a simple, safe, and effective way to prevent influenza. Contrary to popular belief, a flu shot cannot cause the flu. While it’s true that a small amount of the virus is used to make the shot, it cannot produce an active infection in the body. A patient might experience mild soreness at the injection site, but that is simply the reaction of the immune system as it produces protective antibodies to fight off the influenza virus.
For further information, or if you would like to receive a flu shot, please feel free to contact or visit the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic.