Flu Vaccine Information
So far, influenza and RSV rates are low. Typically our fall and winter flu and illness patterns here in the Northern Hemisphere follow what we see in the Southern Hemisphere during their fall and winter. If that is the case again this year, then we can expect another difficult flu and COVID season.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Flu Shot:
It’s never too soon to get protected against the flu! While there are some conflicting studies about how long the flu vaccine protects people over 65, for the rest of us the protection lasts well past influenza season.
First, let’s make sure we’re talking about the same thing. Unfortunately, we use the word flu for two different things. The stomach flu (what we like to call gastroenteritis) is a nausea, vomiting and diarrhea illness. True influenza is primarily a respiratory illness. Its symptoms are cough, fever that can last up to eight days, sore throat and body aches. You can also have vomiting and diarrhea on top of all that.
We still recommend getting the vaccine! There are multiple strains of flu going around each season; just because you had one strain doesn’t mean you won’t get another one. We see this happen every year, unfortunately.
Absolutely not! The flu shot contains particles of the killed virus. It is impossible to get the flu from the shot. Any vaccine can give side effects such as fever or body aches, but these are symptoms of your body’s immune system responding to the vaccine. It’s the sign of a well-run immune system!
No vaccine or treatment is ever 100% perfect. The flu vaccine is particularly tricky because every year the strains most likely to cause disease change. Those strains can change between the time the vaccine is made and when flu season hits, and there may be strains that can cause disease that aren’t covered in the vaccine. Despite these challenges, flu vaccine is still the best protection we have, preventing millions of influenza illnesses every year and significantly reducing a child’s risk of dying from influenza complications.