Questioning when to get your flu shot? The perfect time is earlier than influenza (flu) begins circulating broadly. For most individuals, September or October is right for defense via the entire flu season, because the immune response from the vaccine wanes over time. And whereas adjustments and restrictions attributable to COVID-19 might make getting a flu vaccine much less handy for some this yr, the pandemic makes it extra vital than ever.
Why do I have to get a flu vaccine yearly?
Influenza A and Influenza B trigger most circumstances of flu in people. Each have many strains that continually change, accumulating genetic mutations that disguise them from the immune system. Prior publicity to at least one pressure of flu is not going to essentially defend you from different strains. Your immune system won’t even acknowledge the identical pressure if it has mutated sufficient.
The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) continually 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 succeed in the US. This flu season, widespread strains are prone to embody H1N1 and H3N2.
How efficient is the flu vaccine?
Though the vaccine just isn’t excellent, it’s 40% to 60% efficient in most years. And should you do get the flu it’s prone to be milder, as a result of vaccination reduces the danger of extreme sickness or dying.
Throughout the 2018–2019 flu season, 35.5 million People obtained sick with the flu, and 34,200 died from the flu. Nonetheless, final yr half of all People acquired the flu shot. The CDC estimates this prevented 4.4 million circumstances 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 power medical situations, like decreasing the danger of coronary heart assaults, strokes, or dying amongst individuals with coronary heart illness, and lowering sickness flares in individuals with power obstructive pulmonary illness (COPD).
Why is it particularly vital to get the flu vaccine this yr?
Measures that assist defend us in opposition to COVID-19 — resembling distancing, sporting face coverings, and washing palms usually — may additionally lower the unfold of flu. But it’s extra vital than ever to get vaccinated. The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered shortages of hospital beds, ICU beds, and ventilators even outdoors of flu season. Throughout flu season, when each the flu and COVID-19 might be circulating, hospitals might once more face shortages, limiting their capacity to look after people who find themselves significantly in poor health with the flu, COVID-19, or each.
Folks can get COVID-19 and the flu on the similar time. A latest study confirmed individuals who had COVID-19 and influenza B have been sicker than those that had COVID-19 alone.
Additionally, COVID-19 and flu have comparable signs like fever, chills, fatigue, physique aches, and coughs. So individuals who get the flu might must be examined for COVID-19, after which quarantine till they get the check outcome. This might imply extra 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 best for you is determined by components like age, allergies, coexisting illnesses, and vaccine availability. For adults who don’t have any allergic reactions or power medical situations, and who aren’t pregnant, the CDC doesn’t advocate anyone vaccine over one other.
- Eleven flu vaccines are permitted by the FDA for the 2020–2021 season. Most can be found as pictures, and comprise both inactivated (killed) virus or recombinant virus (made utilizing lab methods). Vaccines might be made utilizing egg-based or non-egg-based processes.
- A trivalent (three-part) flu vaccine comprises two strains of influenza A (one H1N1 and one H3N2) and considered one of Influenza B.
- A quadrivalent (four-part) vaccine provides one other Influenza B pressure.
- A vaccine given as a nasal spray is quadrivalent, and comprises dwell attenuated (weakened) virus. It’s permitted for wholesome, non-pregnant individuals ages 2 to 49.
- A high-dose flu vaccine and a flu vaccine with an adjuvant (an ingredient which boosts immune response) provide extra safety to individuals ages 65 and older. These aren’t permitted for youthful individuals.
Infants beneath 6 months are too younger to be vaccinated, but when their mom acquired a flu vaccine whereas pregnant, infants have partial safety after beginning. Individuals who have had extreme, life-threatening allergic reactions to the influenza vaccine or any of its elements shouldn’t be vaccinated. Nonetheless, most individuals with egg allergies can get the flu shot. Relying on their response to eggs, they’ll both get the identical vaccines as somebody with out allergic reactions or get an egg-free flu vaccine. When you have an egg allergy, any historical past of allergic reactions to vaccines or elements of the flu vaccine, or if in case you have had Guillain-Barré syndrome (a uncommon situation the place the immune system assaults the nerves), speak to your physician earlier than getting vaccinated.
The place can I get a flu vaccine?
You’ll be able to verify together with your physician or well being plan to search out native flu vaccine clinics. Vaccines are additionally obtainable at drug shops, supermarkets, and well being clinics. Relying on insurance coverage, the flu vaccine could also be free.
It’s also possible to verify together with your native board of well being free of charge vaccine websites. In lots of cities and states, you’ll be able to name 211 for this data.
The CDC emphasizes how vital it’s for as many individuals as doable to get the flu vaccine this yr, and issued guidelines for minimizing COVID-19 dangers whereas doing so. Healthcare services are taking measures to cut back danger, resembling symptom screening, spacing of appointments, and imposing social distancing and mask-wearing. With acceptable precautions, COVID-19 publicity danger whereas getting your flu vaccine needs to be minimal, no higher than going to the shop.