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The Best Flu Defense Is Your Yearly Vaccine

Influenza, also known as the flu, is a respiratory infection that can cause serious complications, especially in those with underlying conditions as well as young children and older adults. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the flu affects between 5 and 20 percent of the U.S. population each year.

Every flu season looks different. The viruses evolve so quickly that last year’s vaccine may not protect you from this year’s strains. Also, your antibody levels may decline over time. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated annually against the flu.

How it works
The flu shot is effective because it prompts your immune system to produce antibodies that fight against 3 or 4 different strains of the virus. It may take up to two weeks to build immunity after a flu shot so it’s important to stay on top of your vaccination schedule.

The vaccine cannot give you the flu
Some people may experience various reactions or flu-like symptoms, however. You may experience muscle aches and a fever for a day or two after receiving a flu vaccine. This could be a side effect of your body's production of antibodies. Other illnesses, such as the common cold, also produce flu-like symptoms. You may think you have the flu when you actually don't.

It’s the most effective defense
The flu vaccine is generally more effective among people under 65 years old. Even when the vaccine doesn't completely prevent the flu, it may lessen the severity of your illness and the risk of serious complications.

Where can you can get a free flu shot
Your flu shot is more important than ever this year. You can get yours for no cost at a Preferred provider or at any of our Preferred retail pharmacies.

All in all, the annual flu vaccine is your best defense against the flu. Take a closer look at your preventive care benefits and how they can help you stay on top of your health.


Published on: October 28, 2020
Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/flu/importance-of-flu-shot