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It’s Time to Get a Flu Shot. Here’s All You Need to Know. By Our October Student Pharmacist, Sarah Redmond.

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There’s a chill in the air and now that the weather is turning cold people are starting to get sick. The best way to protect yourself this season is to get your flu shot.

I know you may have some questions, however, so I’m here to answer all your questions about the flu shot.

Q: Who should get the flu shot?

A: Everyone over the age of 6 months! There are also some people who are more likely to get the flu or who might get it more severely than others–these people are “high risk individuals.”

High risk individuals include:

  • Children under 5
  • Adults over 65
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities
  • Health care workers
  • Patients with certain chronic diseases

High risk individuals should take extra care to get their flu shot each year. 

Q: What does the flu shot protect against?

A: The flu vaccine protects you from getting the flu this year, however its benefits are even greater than just prevention. It is proven that getting the flu shot can help you stay out of the hospital- especially if you have a common chronic disease like heart disease, diabetes, or COPD.

For pregnant women, the flu shot not only protects moms, but also protects babies while they’re growing and after they’re born.

If you do still happen to get the flu, the vaccine will help your body fight it off, resulting in a milder, shorter illness. 

Q: Why are there different types of flu vaccine? Which one is best for me?

A: There are three popular types of the flu shot you may hear about.

  • Tri-valent: Protects you against the three most popular strains of the flu.
  • Quad-valent: Protects you against four strains of flu- the same three as the tri-valent plus one more.
  • High Dose: Approved for adults over 65, the high dose flu vaccine contains four times as much antigen, the part of the flu that teaches the body how to recognize and fight the virus, as the normal tri-valent vaccine.

Depending on your age, chronic disease states, and insurance coverage, a pharmacist or student pharmacist can help you pick which vaccine is right for you.

Q: I got my flu shot last year, do I need one this year?

A: Yes! The flu shot changes each year. Scientists use information from the previous year and other parts of the world to predict which flu viruses will be most popular and make the vaccine accordingly.

Q: How long does it take to work?

A: It takes about two weeks after vaccination to be fully protected. During these two weeks the vaccine is teaching your body how to recognize and fight the flu virus in the future. 

Q: Will it give me the flu?

A: No. The viruses used to make the flu shot have been killed and structures broken apart. This makes the vaccine inactivated, which means it will not give you the flu. 

Q: What type of side effects should I expect?

A: Sometimes after the flu shot your arm may be a little achy, with redness and swelling at the injection site. Because the vaccine is teaching your body how to fight the flu, you could also have a very low fever, but this should go away within two days. 

Q: Will it hurt?

A: This year you can only get the flu vaccine by injection. In past years, a nasal spray has been available, but it was not as effective so it should not be used. The injection should take only a few seconds and only feel like a pinch. Make sure to relax your arm down by your side as it will help the shot hurt less.

Q: Do I have to make an appointment to get one?

A: No! Any certified Pharmacist or Student Pharmacist can administer the flu shot to anyone over the age of 7 without a prescription. You can get your flu shot here at Plain City Druggist whenever you stop by.

If you have additional questions about the flu vaccine, please feel free to talk to the Pharmacist or Student Pharmacist at Plain City Druggist or Happy Druggist today!

References:

DO I NEED A FLU VACCINATION? [INFOGRAPHIC]. West Corporation. https://www.televox.com/do-i-need-a-flu-vaccination-infographic/. Posted on November 28, 2012. Accessed October 16, 2016.

Influenza (Flu). Centers for Disease Control and PreventionNational Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). Atlanta, Ga. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm. Last Updated October 14, 2016. Accessed October 16, 2016.

 

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