With the coming of colder weather, also comes flu season. The importance of getting vaccinated against this potentially fatal ailment cannot be overstated, especially among adults over the age of 65. The CDC has stated that of all the deaths associated with influenza, 90% occur in older adults.
What is the flu vaccine?
A vaccine contains a small part of the flu virus, called an antigen, which allows an individual’s immune system to create antibodies, which in turn are used to fight off a potential infection.
Do I need to get the vaccine every year?
According to the doctors at Woodridge Clinic, yes. Every year, new and different strains of the flu develop. During the summer, when influenza is not much of a threat, researchers study the virus to determine which of these strains will become most prevalent. These antigens are then used to create a new vaccine for the year. Vaccines introduced into our population create a “herd immunity”. This means that when enough people get the vaccine, the spread of it becomes very slow, and that certain people who cannot get immunized (infants under six months of age or some people with chronic illnesses) are at a decreased risk.
Can I get sick from the flu vaccine?
No. The amount of antigen in the vaccine is very small. Some people may develop a mild fever, but this is just a result of the body creating its immunity. Some people may also get sore from the injection site, but this is usually a mild effect also.
What else is in the flu vaccine?
Another vital ingredient in the flu vaccine is egg protein, which helps the antigen grow. So obviously people with egg allergies should make their doctor aware of this.
For an appointment at Woodridge Clinic, call 630.309.1000 or visit www.woodridgeclinic.com