The flu season is upon us again. The season starts in early November and can go as far as May of next year. The CDC estimated that death from influenza virus was as high as 40,000 last year. It may even be higher this year because of all the weather changes we are facing.
When I talk to my patients about the flu vaccine, I sometimes hear comments from some like “every time you give me the flu vaccine, Dr. Berry, I get the flu.”
Now let me clear up some misconceptions, the flu vaccine is a killed virus. You cannot get the “flu” from getting the vaccine. When you get the vaccine your body begins to produce antibodies that will protect you just in case you are exposed to the flu virus. It usually takes 2 weeks for the antibodies to be made. While your body is producing the antibodies you may not feel well for a couple of days. You may have a low grade fever, body aches and a running nose. These are the signs that your body is producing the antibodies. This is not the flu. I recommend and give my patients Tylenol for 3 days after the injection to help alleviate these symptoms.
The vaccine is recommended from age 6 months and up. Be advised that the nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended this year again. Remember the vaccine does not protect you from getting the flu or the 250 other viruses out there that cause the common cold. It only protects you from the severe symptoms of influenza A and B, and Swine flu. You may still get exposed to the flu virus by coming in contact or close quarters with someone, or an article that has been contaminated by the virus. Your symptoms will be significantly reduced if you have had the antibodies in place before the exposure. It is like life insurance. You get it “just in case.” Similarly, “just in case” you are exposed to the deadly flu virus, you should have the immunization in place. It may save your life.
Keep up the communication with me and update me on your progress at your next appointment. Also, thank you for your questions. Keep them coming through the patient portal.
THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. Always consult your Doctor, PA or FNP for any problems you may be having and for more information about what you have read.