Many believe the flu is nothing more than a very bad cold; however, the flu can be deadly. Because it weakens the immune system, the flu can leave you vulnerable for opportunistic infections – notably bacterial pneumonia – the results of which can be devastating. Since it’s nearly impossible to avoid coming into the contact with the virus, your best protection is to get a flu shot. Here’s why getting a flu shot is the safest, most convenient way to avoid getting the flu this or any other year.
The Flu Shot Doesn’t Make You Sick
If someone becomes ill shortly after getting a flu shot, it’s no coincidence. While it’s best to get your flu shot before “flu season” starts, most get their shot in the midst of flu season. Because it takes up to three weeks for the vaccine to take effect, it means they likely were exposed shortly before they got their shot. The good news is that getting the flu shot, even after you start to exhibit flu or flu-like symptoms, lessens the severity of the symptoms and increases recovery times.
Concerns of Allergic Reactions
One of the most common questions concerns regarding the flu shot is whether eggs are used in the vaccine. Depending on the pharmaceutical company that manufactures the vaccine, there could be traces of egg protein such as ovalbumin. If you or your loved one are allergic to eggs, let your provider know, as there are other vaccination methods that can be used that do not contain egg protein.
Potential Side Effects
As is the case with any shot or vaccination, there may be mild side effects for the first few days following the shot. You may experience soreness at the site of the injection, headache and nausea and/or a slight fever. These side effects are expected and very common and typically subside with an ice pack or Tylenol in a few days.
Ensuring Your Safety
Infants under six months of age should not receive the flu shot. The same is true of those who have been prescribed certain medications such as immunosuppressants, which could interact with the flu vaccine. If you are feel sick or are ill the day you are supposed to get the shot, you may want to hold off until your immune system has recovered enough to respond to the vaccine.
Family Care in Kent
With so much disinformation circulating regarding vaccinations and immunizations, it’s hard to know what to believe. At FamilyCare of Kent our expert staff of board-certified family nurse practitioners offers family-centered primary care will answer all your questions and help you take charge of your health. We put patients first and give you the time and attention that that combines 21st century medical expertise with old-fashioned personalized care. Get to know us by calling (253) 859-2273 or requesting an appointment online now.