We are all familiar with the symptoms of cold and influenza. Influenza is a virus that spreads easily from person to person. While symptoms can vary from mild to severe, it can be dangerous for high-risk patients to contract the flu. To help prevent flu this year, it might be wise to consider getting a flu vaccine.
What Are the Symptoms?
Symptoms can include suddenly feeling muscle ache and headaches, coupled with coughing and a sore throat. Flu can make you feel tired, unable to get out of bed and give you a high fever. You are likely to suffer from congestion, with your nose, which may also be runny and stuffy. Unfortunately, antibiotics will not help as it is a viral infection and not a bacterial one.
Severe flu may lead to life-threatening pneumonia.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Everyone can contract the flu virus. However, some people are considered more at risk due to a weaker immune system or an increased risk in complications from flu.
People who are over the age of 65, have a serious health condition, or are pregnant are more likely to be at risk when contracting the flu. Others that are at risk include children and those who travel or live abroad. These people should consider the flu vaccine, and seek more advice about the flu from their general practitioner.
Bronchitis and pneumonia are more serious illnesses that might be developed from the simple flu in more vulnerable cases.
What Is the Influenza Vaccine?
There are several different types of flu vaccine, and your doctor will know which is best for you. Generally, an injection is the most common vaccine. However, you may be offered a jet injector or nasal spray depending on your age and if you have an aversion to needles.
The vaccine is basically biologically preparing you for a virus that will help you to acquire immunity. After taking the flu vaccine, you may feel as though you have mild symptoms of flu, which should clear up quickly. After this, you will be more immune to the harsh strains of the virus. To be clear though, the vaccine does not contain the live virus, and cannot cause influenza.
What Are the Risks?
The risks are considered very low as side effects of the vaccine are rare. Children between two and three years old are usually advised to be given the nasal spray instead of the injection. No vaccine is ever 100% able to stop someone from contacting the virus; it just means that they become less likely to get influenza.
After having the jab, you may experience mild symptoms of the flu, but more severe symptoms are rare. If you have had an adverse reaction to vaccines in the past, are allergic to egg or have a high temperature you may be refused the jab for your safety.
For those with a high temperature, it might be administered at a later date if you are feeling better, and your doctor feels as though it is safe.
How to Feel Better After the Flu Jab
If it is painful where the injection was given, take some painkillers such as ibuprofen to help with the pain. If your arm becomes sore or hot, consider putting an ice pack on it to soothe it. Alternatively, a heat pack might soothe the affected area better. Keep moving the arm to avoid stiffness which could lead to more pain.
To keep yourself fit and healthy this winter, an influenza vaccine may be a great help.