Protect yourself from influenza.
Influenza is an infection in the airways of the nose and throat caused by one of the influenza viruses. There are many viruses that are in the air around us, passing from person to person. This is even more of a problem when we’re all indoors during the colder months.
The best prevention is an annual flu shot. A good diet, vitamins and physical activity all add to your general health; however, they won’t protect you completely from the influenza virus. The vaccine is very effective in preventing influenza.
Protect those around you.
Getting yourself vaccinated also helps to protect those around you. This is especially important if you live or work with people who have chronic diseases. They include asthma, diabetes, heart disease or other conditions that weaken their immune systems.
How it spreads.
The influenza virus also spreads quickly from person to person through droplets in the air. These droplets come from our noses and mouths when we cough or sneeze, so cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
The effectiveness of a flu shot.
The flu shot takes about 2 weeks from the time the shot is given to provide full protection. The flu shot can help anyone over the age of 6 months. In the elderly, the vaccine may be less effective in preventing infection. However, getting the flu shot helps to reduce the risk of serious side effects, having to go to the hospital, and death.
Getting an annual flu shot.
A flu shot is needed in the fall each year because the influenza viruses are constantly changing. Also, the protection given by the flu shot lasts only through one influenza season. The flu shot you had last year may not provide the protection you need this year.
It is best to get your flu shot before flu season, which usually goes from December through April. But vaccinations in January and February can still provide protection.
Can I get the flu from the vaccine?
No. Flu vaccines do not give you the flu. This is because the viruses used to make the vaccine have been killed.
People who think they caught the flu after receiving their shot are confusing their symptoms with those of a cold, or another virus. They could also have caught another strain of influenza not included in the vaccine.