Live Above the Rest, Put the Flu Shot to the Test


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Looking to make this winter the best one yet? Protect your health by getting the flu vaccine so you can enjoy this winter to its full potential without sickness keeping you stuck in bed. Winter is a tough season for a lot of reasons; the frigid, icy climate, the shorter amount of daylight, and the expenses of holiday shopping cause many people to feel unhappy and depressed during this time of year. Research shows that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as “winter depression” is believed to be influenced by the changing patterns of light and darkness that occur with the approach of winter. Some symptoms of SAD include, extreme fatigue, getting too much sleep, difficulty concentrating, and weight gain. The flu vaccine will not only decrease your chances of getting the flu, but the results will keep you happy and healthy all winter long.

The flu, or influenza, is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory passages causing fever, severe aching, and a sore or dry throat. Symptoms usually last about one to two weeks with treatment. Many people associate the flu with the fall and winter seasons, but ideally the flu season begins in September and lasts all the way through May. During this time, flu viruses circulate through the population. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread throughout the community, so everyone should get vaccinated. I had the chance to speak with Ipswich High School Senior, Sara Nickerson, and get some insight on her personal experience with the flu vaccine. “I get the flu shot every year, but mostly because my mom makes me get it, I have also never gotten the flu before so it has been really effective for me,” said Sara. By getting the flu vaccine annually, Sara is ensured a healthy flu season, and she also decreases the chances of getting the flu for her peers and community.

There are two ways you can receive the flu vaccine. One way is through a needle and the vaccine itself, and the other is through a nasal spray. What exactly is the flu vaccine made up of? Flu vaccines that are administered with a needle are made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with flu vaccine viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ and are therefore not infectious, or with no flu vaccine viruses at all. The nasal spray flu vaccine does contain live viruses. However, the viruses are weakened, and therefore cannot cause flu illness. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they are designed to only cause infection at the cooler temperatures found within the nose. The viruses cannot infect the lungs or other areas where warmer temperatures exist.

How often should a patient receive the flu vaccine? A patient should receive the flu vaccine annually. This is because flu viruses change, so flu vaccines must change too. Each year’s vaccine is unique, cultivated from the flu strains health officials believe will be most menacing that year. The flu causes more than 200,000 people in the U.S. to be hospitalized every year, and up to 49,000 people die each year from flu-related causes. All in all, prevention is key to a happier flu season and a healthier community.