Our bodies possess the ability to fight off many types of diseases through both inherent and developed immune responses. But the immune system isn't able to fight off all diseases. Vaccinations like the flu shot help the body build up its defenses so it can be more effective in fighting off the flu, which means patients can stay healthier and also avoid spreading the disease to others. Like other vaccines, the flu shot contains a tiny bit of the flu virus. When introduced to the body, the immune system reacts by building up antibodies to fight off the flu germs. These antibodies provide patients with immunity to many types or strains of flu.
No, the flu shot can't cause illness, but patients who receive the shot may experience mild achiness or headache for a day or two afterward as the immune system builds up its defenses. These reactions are normal, mild, and soon resolve. A few patients may have allergic reactions, and before having any vaccine, it's important to discuss any allergies with the doctor, including allergies to eggs which are used in the production of some flu vaccines. Patients who are allergic to eggs can receive a different type of vaccine that does not use eggs in its manufacture.
Generally, yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu shot for anyone over the age of six months. Flu shots can be especially important in children and older patients and patients with specific risk factors like asthma, kidney disease, liver disease or heart disease, all of whom are more prone to develop serious complications like pneumonia.
No, a small number of people who have the vaccine will still get the flu. That's because of each year, there are many, many types of flu germs, and flu vaccines are developed to address the most prevalent types of germs.
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