This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and it’s no coincidence that we’re in peak flu season. While the exact number of people who get the flu varies, millions of Americans get the flu each year, and hundreds of thousands are admitted to the hospital for flu symptoms. Learn more about the flu, flu vaccine, and why it’s important to receive flu vaccine.
What is the flu?
Influenza – otherwise known as the flu – is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The virus infects the nose, throat, and lungs. While flu symptoms can be mild, influenza virus can also cause death.
Here are a few common flu symptoms:
- Body aches
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Someone with the flu will have some combination of these symptoms, but not necessarily all of the symptoms. The best way to keep yourself and your family safe from the flu is by getting a flu vaccine.
People typically recover from the flu in a few days, but the flu may cause complications such as infections, dehydration or pneumonia.
Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu.
How do influenza vaccinations work?
There is a new flu vaccination each year based on which influenza viruses research indicates are most likely to be present during flu season. This means that a flu vaccine from 2015-16 won’t be the same as the 2016-2017 flu vaccine, and won’t necessarily protect you from the influenza viruses you meet this year.
A flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in the body. These antibodies help protect the body from the specific flu virus strains found in the vaccine.
The CDC recommends that everyone older than six months of age get a flu vaccine.
Why is it important to receive flu vaccinations?
While you can do things to prevent the flu – like washing your hands, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth – the best way to keep your family safe from influenza virus is through flu vaccine.
Flu vaccinations help keep you from getting sick, and reduce your risk of hospitalization from the flu.
Where to get your influenza vaccinations
The CDC recommends a flu shot (inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV) for 2016-2017. The CDC discourages the use of nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza caccien or LAIV)
MANA providers offer the flu vaccine at 13 different locations across Northwest Arkansas. Make your appointment today!