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The Flu Shot: What is in it and when is the best time to get it?

Flu shots are also referred to as Influenza vaccines or flu jabs. They are used to protect a person from being infected by influenza viruses. There are many reasons why everybody needs the flu shot, as it minimizes the risk of hospitalizations from the flu. It helps prevent complications in people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart diseases, and lung problems. Pregnant women are also protected from an acute respiratory infection caused by flu thus protecting their unborn infants. In this article, we will be discussing the ingredients contained in a flu shot and the best time to get the vaccine.

What is in the Flu Vaccine?

Despite the different variations of flu shots produced each year, most of these vaccines contain similar ingredients. According to CDC, getting a flu vaccine is the best way to avoid contracting the flu or spread it to other people. Most studies show that flu vaccines are safe and anyone can be given to boost their immunity against the flu virus. Below are some of the ingredients contained in the flu vaccine.

  • Influenza Viruses

The flu shot contains a small amount of the influenza virus it helps to protect against. The presence of the virus in the vaccine helps trigger the natural defense mechanism of your body, which produces antibodies that fight against the influenza virus. Some of the different influenza viruses contained in the vaccine include the H1N1, H3N2 which cause influenza A and Victoria lineage and Yamagata lineage which causes influenza B.

  • Chicken Egg Proteins

The protein derived from chicken eggs enhances the growth of the virus before it can be injected into the vaccine. The virus creates copies of itself inside a fertilized chicken egg before it is separated and placed into the vaccine. Although the CDC has proven that the flu shot is safe for individuals who are allergic to chicken eggs, it is still important to discuss your allergy history with your doctor.

  • Formaldehyde

This ingredient is present in small amounts making it harmless. It inactivates the toxins from bacteria and viruses to prevent the vaccine from being contaminated during production.

Some flu vaccinations may also include:

  • Thimerosal

This preservative ensures the influenza vaccine is free from contamination by bacteria and other types of fungi. Thimerosal is made from a safe compound that stays in your bloodstream for a few days.

How the Flu Vaccine Works

Once you have been injected by the flu shot, it stimulates your immune system to release antibodies that attack the flu virus. The antibodies help detect and fight off the germs and viruses present in your blood. After getting the flu vaccine, it might take 10 to 14 days for your body to gain full immunity.

The Best Time to Get the Flu Vaccine

It is important to get a flu shot before the flu virus spreads in your community. After vaccination, it takes about two weeks for the antibodies to provide full protection against the flu. According to CDC, the best time to get the flu shot is by the end of October.

However, it can still be beneficial to get the vaccine later throughout the flu season to January. Children who should be given two doses of the vaccine are required to start the vaccination earlier since the doses are given four weeks apart.

It is essential to be vaccinated against the flu virus as it can lead to hospitalization or even death in severe cases. The many strains of flu affect people differently. The best way you can protect yourself from the flu is by getting an annual seasonal flu vaccine. It helps protect both children and adults flu against illnesses and frequent hospitalizations.

It is important for every person to get the flu shot as it protects you from getting the flu virus. This is very essential for people in vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, infants, and individuals with compromised immune systems. The reason why you need a flu vaccine every year is that the flu viruses are constantly changing and your body’s immune response tends to decline over time after vaccination.

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