Influenza, commonly referred to as the “flu”, can change each season. Some flu seasons are more dangerous than others and result in harsher symptoms for people who contract the illness. While the flu, is often thought of as a common childhood condition that is equal to a cold or similar mild illness, it can actually have very serious and life threatening effects.
Between 1976 and 2007 anywhere between 3,000 and 49,000 have died as a result of contracting influenza. Each season the virus changes and requires a change in the vaccine composition. This is due to the different virus strains that are most common for the current season. Between the months of October and May in the United States, citizens are most likely to contract the illness which can have harsher effects in people with weakened immune systems, infants, pregnant women, and people over the age of 65. The flu vaccine works by causing antibodies to develop in a person’s body approximately two weeks after receiving the vaccination. The flu vaccine comes in both injection form and a nasal spray. The injection contains an inactivated influenza vaccine, and the nasal spray contains a live attenuated influenza vaccine. Both options are safe for certain groups of people, but should have a recommendation from a healthcare professional to make the best choice.
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