Getting the flu vaccine is the best way you can protect yourself and those around you from the flu and its possible complications. The flu and its complications can be serious and even life-threatening, especially for people with underlying medical conditions.
Every year in the United States, influenza and its related complications result in over 200,000 hospitalizations and 3,000-49,000 deaths. Getting vaccinated is the most important step in protecting yourself and help protect those around you. Flu vaccines reduce illness, doctor’s visits, and missed work and school.
Flu vaccination has been shown to reduce flu-related hospital visits by 71 percent in all adults and 77 percent in adults over 50. Although the vaccine does not guarantee that you won’t get the flu, it may reduce the severity of illness if you do get sick.
How do flu vaccines work?
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called “trivalent” vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus.
For people 65 or older, the CDC recommends the Fluzone HD which is more potent than the regular flu shot. A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is supposed to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu.
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