Influenza, which is commonly known as the flu, is a contagious viral infection that affects people differently. In some rare cases, the flu can even lead to hospitalization and even death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu shot or vaccine. The flu vaccine helps to protect your immune system, as well as the people around you.
The flu affects about 20% of Americans every year, and the number is high due to its contagiousness. Influenza is mostly spread through sneezing and coughing, but being in close contact with a person having the flu can also lead to the infection. Mostly, the flu is high during winter because of the cold weather, though it can occur in any season. While most of the infected end up recovering, it can be lethal to young children, pregnant women, older persons, and people with weak immune systems. The potential risk affiliated with infection is why it is advised that you get a flu shot once each year to avoid infection.
HOW DO FLU SHOTS WORK?
The flu vaccines trigger the development of antibodies in the body usually around fourteen days after it is administered. The antibodies then prevent the infection of the immune system with the virus contained in the vaccine. The entire process works in three stages, which include;
1. Vaccination – It starts when the shot injects weakened or dead flu germs into the blood streams.
2. Protection – Once the germs are in the body, they kill the flu germs through the formation of antibodies or proteins. This normally happens about two weeks after the short is administered.
3. Prevention – The already formed antibodies will then have the duty of defending the immune system against the actual influenza virus that might develop.
The flu vaccines are developed to protect the body against three major viruses, including HINI Virus, H3N2 Virus, and Influenza B virus. Other flu vaccines help to prevent the body against the four different influenza viruses.
PROCESS OF MAKING THE YEARLY FLU SHOT
Normally, the flu-causing viruses tend to change time and again. That is why each year has a unique flu vaccine that has been developed to protect the body against the common virus strains. The vaccine produced will depend on the types of viruses of that year or season.
Each year, 141 national influenza centers in 111 nations spend time studying the most recent flu trends. As the research goes on, the centers study how the viruses spread, and how effective the vaccines of the previous year were in combating the circulation. After that, the nations are expected to forward their findings and the WHO makes the final strain recommendations of the flu shot to the FDA. After the Food and Drug Administration gets the WHO administration, it makes the final verdict and the flu vaccine is made public.
WHEN SHOULD YOU BE VACCINATED?
Ideally, you should get the flu vaccine as soon as it is released in clinics and hospitals. Always ensure that you get the vaccine from a credited and recognized health center. This helps to keep you safe from phony vaccines that are not approved by the FDA. Normally, it will take about two weeks for the immune system to respond to the flu vaccine. This means that you should get the shot early enough to allow the immune system to respond to the vaccine fully. Always ensure that you get vaccinated before the peak of influenza season.
HOW MUCH IS THE COST OF THE VACCINE?
The cost of the flu vaccine is $25 at Urgent Clinics Medical Care in any of our conveniently located facilities. If you prefer we come to you, make an appointment for an on-site vaccination at a cost of $35.
SO WHY SHOULD YOU GET VACCINATED?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has carried out research that shows the benefit of the vaccine to the immune system. The vaccine helps not only to prevent the body from the influenza viral infection but also to reduce the seriousness of the infection. If you happen to get the vaccine after the virus is already in your system, the shot will help to minimize the seriousness of the flu. This means that the flu will be milder and less risky.
Studies show that people who get the flu shot are less likely to end up in a hospital. This helps to protect your immune system against attacks, and also helps you save on hospital bills. Government and other health institutions campaign for the flu vaccine for this very reason. As winter is drawing closer, you will need to be protected from the infection of the flu virus. The best way to prevent infection is to be vaccinated.
At Urgent Clinics Medical Care, our friendly, experienced and licensed healthcare professionals are ready to help you protect your family against the severe effects of the flu virus. Just walk in today to any of our convenient locations in the Houston area including Pearland, Champions, The Woodlands and 3 locations in League City: Creekside, Marina Bay and Tuscan Lakes.