A serious case of influenza is considerably more debilitating than body aches and a fever. This illness can cause you to be hospitalized and at its worst can be fatal. While there seems to be widespread confusion about whether or not the flu vaccination is necessary, if you have ever had a true case of influenza, you understand the importance of the vaccine.
A Deadly Infection
Influenza or the flu as it is commonly called is a viral infection. It attacks the respiratory passages and can cause high fever. Severe body aches are also a symptom as is inflammation of the mucous membranes in the nose and throat. For most people the flu will be very uncomfortable; however recovery is usually expected within seven to fourteen days.
Certain groups have risk factors that can put them at a great disadvantage, making the flu a possibly deadly illness. Those who have compromised auto-immune systems are at greater risks. Young children and the elderly are also at a higher risk for more severe reaction to the flu virus. These groups will benefit greatly from receiving the flu vaccination.
Flu Vaccination Protects Against the Flu Virus
The flu vaccination is made from inactivated flu viruses and is delivered through an injection. It is also made in a nasal spray form. This method uses live viruses which have been rendered inactive. Neither the live viruses nor the dead ones used in the injections have the ability to replicate.
The immune system kicks in once the viruses are introduced in the body. Antibodies are produced to fight a perceived onset of infection. This supply of antibodies generated by the body’s immune system is what prevents the live flu virus from gaining a foothold during flu season.
High Risk Populations
Some people are at a higher risk for complications from the flu than others. These people are generally given priority for getting flu shots. Included in this group are children between the ages of six months old and five years old. Senior citizens are also an important group needing flu vaccination.
Anyone with a chronic pulmonary disease such as asthma or COPD should get vaccinated. People with cardiovascular disease are high risk; however a doctor needs to be consulted because some people in this population should not receive a flu vaccination. Caretakers and health care workers should receive vaccinations because they are working with people and can easily spread the illness as well as contract it from others.
At PCP for life, we offer our patients guidance to acquire and maintain optimal health. Contact us for more information about the flu vaccination. We’d be happy to answer any of your questions.