Flu season is approaching – Come to Suntree Internal Medicine for your flu shot.

The weather is starting to cool off a bit, the children have returned to school, the holidays will be here before we know it.
With the change of season approaching, the cold symptoms will begin as well; sneezes, stuffy noses, sinus headaches and more. With the cold symptoms comes the flu season. The best thing to do to is to take preventative action and get the flu vaccine.

First, let’s talk about what the Influenza virus (flu) is. It is a highly contagious illness that effects the respiratory system. Its symptoms can range from mild to severe, the most serious cases can and do result in hospitalization and even death. There are many strains of the influenza virus, the vaccine will prevent or lessen symptoms of the strains that are most likely to afflict the population as predicted by the CDC.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), health professionals and doctors recommend that children as well as adults receive the vaccine ahead of the flu season. The flu season can start as early as October, and last up to the month of May.

How does the vaccine work?

Most of the flu vaccines are made using the dead influenza virus. The vaccine is then injected as a shot or inhaled as a nasal spray. What happens next is your body starts going to work. The immune system notices that a foreign substance is present in the body. Your immune system then makes the necessary antibodies to protect itself from the virus. Antibodies are protein like substances that will attach to the virus, they then send signals to the immune system to issue an attack on the intruders (the virus) and destroy them. This will happen if the live virus enters your body. The process of antibody generation does take approximately two weeks to reach completion, this is exactly why the vaccine is recommended as early on as possible before the influenza virus season is even here.

Why is an annual flu vaccine required?

The prevalent strains of the influenza virus vary from year to year. This means that the antibodies your immune system made to protect you against the most common strains of last year’s influenza virus won’t work for the strains that are present this year.

Who should receive the vaccine?

According to the CDC, anyone who is over the age of 6 months old should get the flu vaccine this season. For some people, it is especially important they receive the vaccine, see the list below:

  • People 65 years old or more
  • People who care for or live with others that are at a higher risk for developing serious complications like healthcare workers or people living with individuals with a weakened immune system
  • People who have specific medical conditions such as; diabetes, chronic lung disease and asthma
  • Anyone who is at a higher risk for developing serious complications if they happened to contract the flu

Who should not receive the flu vaccine?

It is recommended that certain people consult with their physicians first before receiving the vaccine. These individuals include:

  • Infants younger than 6 months of age
  • People who have moderate to severe illness, if you are experiencing a fever for example, you should wait until you recover to receive the vaccination
  • People who have previously had severe adverse reactions to vaccinations

It should also be noted that anyone who has had severe allergic reactions to any part of this vaccine or eggs talk with their health care provider before receiving the vaccine. There has been egg allergy contraindications in previous years of this vaccine. The influenza vaccination is not a guaranteed measure to prevent the flu, it does however greatly reduce your risk of contracting the virus. The vaccination can also lessen the severity of symptoms if you do contract the virus.

Suntree Internal Medicine physicians proudly offers preventive healthcare, talk to one of our providers today about protecting you and your loved ones by receiving the flu vaccine.