Flu Shots: The Most Effective Prevention


Brianna Langel, Reporter

   Every flu season is different, and the influenza infection can affect people differently. Millions people get the flu every year, and sometimes are hospitalized. Stated in CDC.Gov, roughly, about 5% to 20% of people in the United States get the flu every year, which is about 16 to 64 million people. More than 200,000 of those people in the United States, on average, are hospitalized each year for illnesses that relate back to the flu. There are about 3 to 49 thousand flu related deaths every year. An influenza vaccine shot helps protect against the flu yearly. The flu vaccine changes every year, and scientists keep up with the sudden change in the viruses. Common symptoms of the flu include fatigue, nausea, high fevers, body aches, and chills.

   Seasonal flu weakens the immune system and can turn into complications that can turn fatal and possibly result in death. People with chronic illnesses, such as asthma and diabetes, are more at risk for being hospitalized with the flu than people without as the body has nothing to help fight off the infection.

   The influenza infection vaccine is egg-based, meaning they contain small amount of egg protein, such as ovalbumin. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) provides private manufacturers with certain vaccine viruses, which are injected into a hen’s fertilized egg. The eggs are then incubated and watched for several days, allowing the virus to reproduce. The fluid from the eggs is collected, the viruses are then killed, and the antigen is purified for use in the flu shot.

   Contrary to popular belief, the flu vaccine cannot give someone the flu unless the immune system had it before receiving the shot. If the flu infection was in the body when receiving the shot or spray, the vaccine will work and make the symptoms of the flu mild and limit the spread of influenza. The vaccine does not guarantee full protection from the flu and will take up to two weeks to fully set in and work. The influenza shot could impact health for a short time after immunization with headaches, low fever, coughing, and redness of where the shot was injected, and lasts about 1-2 days.