We all know what the flu is like: upset stomach, fever, and general misery. But now we are able to prevent many types of influenza. We can even immunize against pneumonia. These precautions will lower your chance of getting sick this year. Of course, maintaining a healthy dose of common sense is also important: wear your hat and mittens in the cold, and take a multivitamin to help boost your immune system.
A flu shot is a vaccine that helps to prevent the occurrence of flu, and other viruses. Flu viruses change every year, so it is important to get a new shot each year. Last year’s shot cannot protect you from this year’s viruses.
The shot works by injecting your body with inactive flu virus. Your body is then able to develop antibodies to protect you against the flu, which will help you avoid getting sick. Because there are many types of flu in circulation every year, there is no guarantee that you will not get the flu. However, flu shots lessen your chance of getting the flu, and they will also help minimize flu symptoms if you do get sick.
Because the flu vaccine does not contain active flu viruses, you cannot catch the flu from getting the vaccine. Some people complain that they get a cold the week after their flu shot, but this cold is not the flu, and is not a danger.
There are also pneumonia shots available. Pneumonia shots are not yearly, like flu shots. These are generally only taken once in your lifetime, and sometimes refreshed once you are 65. Ask your doctor about getting a pneumonia shot so that you can breathe easy, and literally take this weight off your chest.
People who are allergic to eggs should speak to their doctor before taking a flu shot. Ask your doctor before you get vaccinated to see if you should be vaccinated.
Consider asking your family to get vaccinated with you. The flu is highly contagious, and if you can lower your exposure to flu viruses by vaccinating your family, you will be being safer. Your family will also thank you when they don’t get sick.
You can get flu shots at any doctor’s office. These shots are often free or of very minimal cost. There are flu shot vaccine clinics that often travel around to many locations, and offer free vaccination in your community. Often, these clinics occur in the fall before “flu season” starts. Speak to your doctor about cost-effective ways to prevent the flu.
If you are unwilling to get a shot, you can consider an alternative flu vaccine nasal spray. This nasal spray, which was approved in 2003, uses an active flu virus, and so works differently than the flu injections. These active viruses have been modified to only live in the nasal passages, and so help the body create antibodies in this way. FluMist has been proven to be particularly helpful to children, who often develop nasal or aural complications with flu. It also helps prevent the flu altogether, and sometimes even prevents new strands. Speak to your doctor about your options.
Preventing the flu and pneumonia can be as simple as making one appointment a year; it might even just require asking your doctor for an extra injection during your regular appointment. Like healthy diet and glucose monitoring, preventing these illnesses is a simple part of diabetes management that will help you lead a happy and healthy life.