Influenza affects the lungs and is caused by several types of flu viruses. It can be serious, especially for people who are very old or very young. It spreads easily between people. Influenza can be prevented by the flu vaccine.
What is in the Vaccine?
Every year, scientists study active flu viruses to determine which are most likely to cause the next outbreak. A flu vaccine is then made to target these viruses. The vaccine is made from weakened or inactive versions of the viruses.
How it Works
When a person is vaccinated, the body creates antibodies to fight the viruses. Even after the viruses are destroyed, this protection remains.
How it is Given
Flu vaccines come in two varieties. One type is injected. The injection does not contain any live viruses. The other type is sprayed into the nostrils. This type does contain live viruses, but they have been weakened. Neither type of vaccine can cause a flu infection.
Who Should Get the Vaccine
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months old or older. The injection may be recommended for some people, and the nasal spray for others. A doctor can tell you which type is right for you.
Discuss With Doctor
Certain people should discuss the flu vaccine with their doctors. The injection may not be recommended for people who have an allergy to eggs. The nasal spray may not be used for people who have asthma or certain chronic diseases. A person who has recently received another vaccination should discuss this with a doctor before getting the nasal spray. Neither type of vaccine may be used for some people who have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome. People who are not feeling well may need to wait to get the vaccine.
The flu vaccine is the best protection against flu. It prevents infection, and it helps keep the flu from spreading from person to person.