Bayfield County Health Department
Related flu info from Bayfield County
- Is it a cold or the flu?
- Take time to get a flu vaccine
- Prevent the spread of the flu
- Flu Mythbusters
There are two types of flu vaccines available to you:
- The "flu shot" — an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions. There are three different flu shots available:
- The nasal-spray flu vaccine — a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that is given as a nasal spray (sometimes called LAIV for "Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine"). The viruses in the nasal spray vaccine do not cause the flu. LAIV is approved for use in healthy people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The 2012-2013 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A (H1N1) virus, influenza A (H3N2) virus and an influenza B virus. About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against influenza virus infection develop in the body, so protection takes about two weeks post vaccination.
Both seasonal LAIV and TIV contain the same strains of influenza viruses. Influenza vaccines, like any medical product, carry some risks but serious adverse events after influenza vaccination are uncommon. All seasonal influenza vaccines licensed in the United States are produced in eggs so if a person is allergic to eggs they cannot receive the vaccination.
How do flu vaccines work?
Flu vaccines (the flu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine (LAIV)) cause antibodies to develop in the body. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine, they help the body defend against illness. Vaccination also prevents secondary complications of influenza, such as pneumonia.
Why should people get vaccinated against the flu?
Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Studies going back to 1976 have found that flu-related deaths ranged from a low of 4,700 to a high of 56,600 annually. During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older, in recent years more children and younger adults were more impacted by the new strains. The “seasonal flu season” in the United States is usually from November through April each year.
During this time, flu viruses are circulating in the population. An annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal-spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and lessen the chance that you will spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community. That is the goal of all of the providers of influenza vaccine; keeping people healthy and protecting our entire community. So, please consider getting your annual flu shot!
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