Did you know that October is the best month to get a flu shot? Flu season peaks in December, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to wait. So how does the flu shot work, and how can you get the most protection from it?
How Does the Flu Shot Work?
Even though flu season peaks in December, the best time to get your flu shot is by the end of October. Why is it so important to get your flu shot by Halloween? Because if you have a flu shot by October 31st, you’ll have immunity from the flu by November 14th. In other words, you’ll be fully protected before Thanksgiving and other family gatherings take place, and at least two weeks before flu cases typically spike.
But why does it take so long? Why doesn’t a flu shot work as soon as you get it? If a doctor has never explained to you how a vaccine helps your body fight infections, you might have a lot of questions. Luckily, we have the answers. So, how does the flu shot work?
A Flu Shot Is Like a Fire Drill for Your Immune System
Have you ever participated in a fire drill? If so, you probably got a chance to practice learning what to do in case of a fire emergency at your school or workplace, without actually being exposed to any danger. The flu shot works in a similar way. It gives your body a chance to practice responding to a virus, without exposing you to actual harm.
When you get a flu shot, an inert version of the flu virus is injected into your body. The flu “virus” in vaccines is not capable of causing infection. Despite this, your immune system will recognize the presence of the “virus” and get to work. Your immune system will start to develop antibodies that are specifically made to rid your body of the flu. Within two weeks, you will have the antibody level required to avoid serious infection from a flu virus. Once you have those antibodies, you can consider yourself protected from the flu.
Common Flu Shot Questions
Now that you know how a flu shot works, you may still have some questions. Below are the most commonly asked questions about the flu shot, along with answers provided by the experts.
Who should get a flu shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of six months gets vaccinated against the flu every year. It is especially important for those over the age of 65 to be vaccinated, as they are vulnerable to flu complications like pneumonia. If you are concerned about having a health condition that might be affected by a flu shot, ask your doctor if they recommend one.
Why do I need another flu shot if I got one last year?
If you were previously vaccinated, your body has antibodies for a specific strain of the flu virus. Unfortunately, your immunity will decline over time, and flu strains also evolve as they circulate. The CDC ensures that the flu is studied each year and that vaccines are updated to be effective against the latest strains.
Can I still get the flu if I get a flu shot?
Unfortunately, while a flu shot significantly lowers your chance of getting the flu, it can’t eliminate it completely. However, you should know that the flu shot is extremely effective in preventing hospitalizations and death, and the antibodies present will help your body recover much more quickly.
Can the flu shot make me sick?
The flu shot cannot give you a case of the flu. However, you may experience some discomfort as your immune system adjusts. Headaches, mild fevers, and muscle aches are the most common side effects. They typically subside after 24 hours and are much less unpleasant than a case of the flu.
How does a flu shot work? It protects you from serious cases of the flu by teaching your body how to combat the virus. If you have more questions, be sure to ask your doctor.
ANNOUNCEMENT: The Crossings at Riverview will be holding its flu shot clinic on Wednesday, November 3rd. Please stop by!
Are you looking for a relaxing place to retire near Riverview, Florida? Check out the Crossings at Riverview, located near Tampa, Florida. We invite you to tour our community, meet our friendly staff, and see our amenities first-hand. Overlooking the Alafia River on twelve beautiful acres, the Crossings at Riverview offers a relaxing atmosphere, and our talented team is committed to cultivating a welcoming and vibrant community. Our goal is to make our community feel like home for all of our residents. To schedule a tour, contact us online. We look forward to meeting you!