What is the Flu?
Flu is a respiratory tract illness caused by the influenza virus, affecting the nose, throat, and rarely the lungs. It is contagious and can spread from one person to another. The transmission route of the influenza virus is aerosols and droplets that develop during coughing, sneezing, vomiting, and defecating.
It makes influenza and other respiratory tract viruses highly transmissible. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 56 million people got the flu during the flu season of 2019-20 in America.
What is the Flu Shot?
The flu shots or influenza vaccination protect against the influenza virus. This virus changes itself very quickly. Therefore, the government brings its new versions twice a year. The influenza vaccine contains antigens for the most common influenza strains, such as Type A with subtype H1N1, Type A with subtype H2N2, and one or two strains of Type B.
Most commonly, the flu shot is injected intramuscularly, but nasal shots are also available on the market if you are afraid of needles. According to the CDC, every person over six months should receive the flu shot yearly, usually at the start of the fall months.
In past years, the flu vaccine has remained controversial about its safety. However, many healthcare professionals think that flu shots are safe and suitable. In addition, there is no medical evidence that flu shots exert serious harm or side effects.
Furthermore, the primary purpose of the flu shot is protection against the influenza virus. Thus, we should consider both its pros and cons for better understanding.
Pros of Flu Vaccine:
- Reduce Risk of Flu-associated Hospitalizations:
Every year, many people become sick of the flu and get hospitalized. Approximately two lac people are admitted to the hospital every year because of the seasonal flu, with about 96,000 people dying—however, the risk of getting hospitalized decreases in the people who receive the influenza vaccine.
- Feel safer within the Community:
The flu shot decreases the risk of falling ill of flu by 70%. Therefore, people who get the flu vaccine are safer in public places. For instance, children with flu vaccines are protected in schools and vaccinated nurses are safe during duty. In fact, there should be a proper schedule for flu vaccination in schools.
- Decrease in Death Rate:
People with chronic diseases such as heart problems, diabetes, asthma, etc., are more vulnerable to the influenza virus attack. 80% of deaths happen in such persons. However, there is a decreased chance of death in people who receive flu shots.
Furthermore, senior citizens and children have weak immune systems. Therefore, they must get the flu vaccine every year.
Cons of Flu Vaccine:
- Require Booster Shots:
Each year, getting a flu shot is necessary because the influenza virus can evolve itself and change its strains. Therefore, no vaccine remains effective for more than one year.
- The Nasal Vaccine can Spread:
Although, it’s infrequent that a nasal flu vaccine can spread from the recipient to other people while sneezing or coughing. However, even if it is shed, it can cause flu in different persons.
- Allergic Reactions:
Though the flu vaccine is safe, it still has some side effects. For instance, most people experience swelling, redness and inflammation at the injection point. Furthermore, low-grade fever, headache, sore throat, runny nose, and chills may also occur after vaccination.
However, most people agree that the side effects of the flu vaccines are more likely to be less severe than the flu.
- Risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome Development:
may develop Guillain-Barre syndrome in some cases after getting the flu vaccine. This syndrome may cause severe muscle weakness, paralysis, or death.
Thus, taking a flu vaccine is a personal decision. We should consider all advantages and disadvantages to decide whether it is good to receive a flu shot. However, healthcare experts agree that getting a flu vaccine is a safe, excellent, and witty choice for most people.