Time for flu shots — getting one is more important than ever! – Harvard Health Blog

Questioning when to get your flu shot? One of the best time is earlier than influenza (flu) begins circulating extensively. For most individuals, September or October is splendid for safety via the entire flu season, because the immune response from the vaccine wanes over time. And whereas adjustments and restrictions on account of COVID-19 could make getting a flu vaccine much less handy for some this 12 months, the pandemic makes it more important than ever.

Why do I have to get a flu vaccine yearly?

Influenza A and Influenza B trigger most instances of flu in people. Each have many strains that continuously change, accumulating genetic mutations that disguise them from the immune system. Prior publicity to one pressure of flu won’t essentially shield you from different strains. Your immune system may not even acknowledge the identical pressure if it has mutated sufficient.

The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) continuously monitor altering strains of influenza all over the world. They use this information to develop vaccines months earlier than flu season begins to guard in opposition to the almost definitely strains to achieve the US. This flu season, frequent strains are more likely to embrace H1N1 and H3N2.

How efficient is the flu vaccine?

Though the vaccine is not excellent, it is 40% to 60% efficient in most years. And when you do get the flu it is more likely to be milder, as a result of vaccination reduces the danger of extreme sickness or loss of life.

Through the 2018–2019 flu season, 35.5 million People obtained sick with the flu, and 34,200 died from the flu. Nonetheless, final 12 months half of all People acquired the flu shot. The CDC estimates this prevented 4.Four million instances of flu, 58,000 hospitalizations, and three,500 deaths. That’s equal to saving 10 lives per day throughout flu season. The flu vaccine has extra advantages for individuals with persistent medical circumstances, like decreasing the danger of coronary heart assaults, strokes, or loss of life amongst individuals with coronary heart illness, and lowering sickness flares in individuals with persistent obstructive pulmonary illness (COPD).

Why is it particularly important to get the flu vaccine this 12 months?

Measures that assist shield us in opposition to COVID-19 — reminiscent of distancing, sporting face coverings, and washing palms typically — may additionally lower the unfold of flu. But it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated. The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered shortages of hospital beds, ICU beds, and ventilators even exterior of flu season. Throughout flu season, when each the flu and COVID-19 can be circulating, hospitals could once more face shortages, limiting their capability to care for people who find themselves critically ailing with the flu, COVID-19, or each.

Folks can get COVID-19 and the flu on the identical time. A current study confirmed individuals who had COVID-19 and influenza B had been sicker than those that had COVID-19 alone.

Additionally, COVID-19 and flu have related signs like fever, chills, fatigue, physique aches, and coughs. So individuals who get the flu could should be examined for COVID-19, after which quarantine till they get the take a look at consequence. This might imply more days out of labor. It may additionally result in testing shortages.

Which sort of flu vaccine ought to I get?

The CDC recommends a vaccine for everybody 6 months or older, with only a few exceptions. Which flu vaccine is proper for you will depend on elements like age, allergies, coexisting illnesses, and vaccine availability. For adults who haven’t any allergic reactions or persistent medical circumstances, and who usually are not pregnant, the CDC doesn’t advocate any one vaccine over one other.

  • Eleven flu vaccines are accepted by the FDA for the 2020–2021 season. Most can be found as shots, and comprise both inactivated (killed) virus or recombinant virus (made utilizing lab methods). Vaccines could be made utilizing egg-based mostly or non-egg-based mostly processes.
  • A trivalent (three-half) flu vaccine comprises two strains of influenza A (one H1N1 and one H3N2) and one of Influenza B.
  • A quadrivalent (4-half) vaccine provides one other Influenza B pressure.
  • A vaccine given as a nasal spray is quadrivalent, and comprises dwell attenuated (weakened) virus. It’s accepted for wholesome, non-pregnant individuals ages 2 to 49.
  • A excessive-dose flu vaccine and a flu vaccine with an adjuvant (an ingredient which boosts immune response) supply extra safety to individuals ages 65 and older. These usually are not accepted for youthful individuals.

Infants below 6 months are too younger to be vaccinated, but when their mom acquired a flu vaccine whereas pregnant, infants have partial safety after delivery. Individuals who have had extreme, life-threatening allergic reactions to the influenza vaccine or any of its substances shouldn’t be vaccinated. Nonetheless, most individuals with egg allergies can get the flu shot. Relying on their response to eggs, they will both get the identical vaccines as somebody with out allergic reactions or get an egg-free flu vaccine. When you’ve got an egg allergy, any historical past of allergic reactions to vaccines or parts of the flu vaccine, or when you have had Guillain-Barré syndrome (a uncommon situation the place the immune system assaults the nerves), discuss to your physician earlier than getting vaccinated.

The place can I get a flu vaccine?

You’ll be able to examine along with your physician or well being plan to seek out native flu vaccine clinics. Vaccines are additionally out there at drug shops, supermarkets, and well being clinics. Relying on insurance coverage, the flu vaccine could also be free.

You can too examine along with your native board of well being for free vaccine websites. In lots of cities and states, you’ll be able to name 211 for this data.

The CDC emphasizes how important it is for as many individuals as doable to get the flu vaccine this 12 months, and issued guidelines for minimizing COVID-19 dangers whereas doing so. Healthcare amenities are taking measures to cut back danger, reminiscent of symptom screening, spacing of appointments, and implementing social distancing and masks-sporting. With acceptable precautions, COVID-19 publicity danger whereas getting your flu vaccine ought to be minimal, no better than going to the shop.

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