October 27, 2011
Flu shot time is here, so here are some things you should know. First of all, there are two types of flu vaccines:
- There’s the “flu shot”, which is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is administered with a needle. This shot is usually given in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
There are three different flu shots available:
- The “Regular Flu Shot”, which is approved for people 6 months and older
- A “High-Dose Flu Shot”, which is approved for people 65 and older
- The “Intradermal Flu Shot”, which is approved for people 18 to 64 years of age.
- The second kind of flu shot is known as the nasal-spray flu vaccine. This flu shot is made with live, weakened flu viruses, and is given as a nasal spray (sometimes called LAIV for “Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine”). Now, the viruses in the nasal spray vaccine do not cause the flu, which is sometimes mis-reported. LAIV is approved for use in healthy* people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant.
It’s important to understand that seasonal flu vaccines keep you protected against three influenza viruses, and surprise, surprise; they are the three that research indicates will be most common during this upcoming flu season. Something you may not know is that the viruses in the vaccine can change each year. Based on international surveillance and scientists’ estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year, changes are made. Now, approximately 2 weeks after you get your flu shot, the antibodies that provide protection against the influenza viruses in the vaccine begin to develop in the body. This gives you the protection you need, as your body begins to strengthen itself against this virus.
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