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Flu shots disease, also known as influenza is a contagious disease that spreads in countries such as United States of America at least twice a year; usually between October and May. The flu is caused by the influenza virus and is mainly spread through coughing, sneezing and physical contact. Anyone can get the flu and it attacks immediately and can last for several days. Influenza is a very dangerous disease that can lead to hospitalization or even death if not treated in time. However, every influenza season is different from the other. The flu infection affects people differently depending on location, age, and the strength in the immune system. Millions of people are infected with the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of them are hospitalized, and tens of thousands die every year due to the flu (Portela & Digard, 2002). However, even healthy people can be affected by the flu and can get very sick.
Why People Get Flu Shots
According to a research conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since 2010, approximately 140,000-710,000 people have been hospitalized every year from the flu, and 12,000-56,000 people have died as a result of being infected. During the ‘Flu season’, anyone can be infected with the flu. When the flu strikes, it can last several days before one recovers. The symptoms could vary by age, but they can include chills/fever, sore throat, cough, fatigue, muscle aches, runny/stuffy nose and headaches. The flu is a dangerous disease as it can lead to blood infections and pneumonia and can cause diarrhea and seizures in children. If one has prior conditions such as heart or lung conditions, the flu can make it worse (Catwright & Kohlmeier, 2017). In addition, the flu is more dangerous for some people than it is for others. Infants, people aged 65 years and above, and pregnant women are at greater risks when infected by the flu. Those with weak immune are also at risk. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that infants, people aged 65 years and above and those with high risk of infection should be vaccinated twice each flu season, while other people should be vaccinated once each season. The vaccines do not contain live flu virus, and as such cannot cause flu.
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Why Some People Do Not Get Flu Shots
Clearly, the reason why some people do not get flu shots is due to the fact that they receive an influenza vaccination every “flu season”. Again, if more people are vaccinated against the flu, it is difficult for the flu to spread, and hence less people are infected by the flu (Cdcgov, 2017). Flu shots or influenza vaccines are vaccines that prevent against the infection by the influenza virus. Due to the high prevalence of the flu in countries like America, a new vaccine is developed twice every year. The virus changes rapidly, hence new vaccines have to be developed regularly. Each vaccine is made in such a way that it can help protect against three or four viruses which are likely to occur in that flu season. However, if the vaccine does not exactly match the viruses, it cone offer some protection (Catwright & Kohlmeier, 2017).
With the high risks of infection of the flu in countries like America, it is necessary for everyone to be vaccinated each year to reduce the risks of infection. The influenza vaccine has very many benefits. One of the benefits of the vaccine is that it protects the vaccinated people from being infected with the virus. Even if one is infected, the vaccine reduces the severity of the flu. This ensures that the chances of hospitalization are reduced. Another advantage of being vaccinated is that the vaccine is an important preventive tool for those who have chronic health conditions. Research conducted by CDC shows that 77% of people with diabetes and 52% of people with chronic lung disease were not infected with the flu as they had been vaccinated earlier. Another advantage of getting the flu vaccination is that the pregnant women who get the vaccine are protected against infection, and the baby is also protected from the flu (Cdcgov, 2017). This is because the mother passes the antibodies to the baby. A study conducted in early 2017 shows that flu vaccination significantly reduces the risks of child deaths due from influenza.
It is highly recommended that the flu vaccine is given in form of injection. There exists a nasal spray vaccine that contains live but weakened flu virus. However, CDC does not recommend the nasal spray since in the past flu seasons, it has proved to be highly ineffective. The vaccine contains killed flu virus, which helps the body to develop antibodies to fight the flu. Usually, the injection is given in a muscle in the arm. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to take full effect in the body. If one is exposed to the virus before the end of the two weeks, one might contact the virus.
- Catwright, E.K & Kohlmeier, J.E. (2017). Differential nutrient uptake by lung resident and spleen effector memory T cells following influenza virus infection. The journal of immunology, 198(1), 2512-2534.
- Cdcgov. (2017). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Kawaoka, Y.K & Neumann, G.N. (2012). Influenza Virus: Methods and Protocols. New York, NY: Humana press.
- Portela, A & Digard , P. (2002). The influenza virus nucleoprotein. A multifunctional RNA -binding protein pivotal to virus replication, 83(1), 723-734.