Expert Advice

Flu facts

What do I need to know about the upcoming flu season?

It’s never too early to start thinking about flu season. Almost everyone has had the flu at some point in their lifetime and can attest that it’s not a pleasant experience. Symptoms of influenza range from fatigue and body aches to fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Physicians agree, though, that receiving a flu vaccine will greatly reduce your risk of catching the virus. Here are some facts to keep in mind going into this year’s flu season:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each flu vaccine is updated annually to match strains that are determined to be most common. Usually these vaccines are made up of three or four different strains. For this flu season, it has been recommended that two of last year’s strains be replaced to better protect the public.

It takes approximately two weeks for the vaccine to take effect, after creating influenza antibodies in your body to fight the virus. Physicians recommend receiving the vaccination by the end of October, creating these antibodies before flu season truly gets underway.

Doctors recommend that anyone above the age of 6 months receive a flu vaccine.

Richard A. Stewart, MD, is on staff at Augusta Health Primary Care, Waynesboro.
To make an appointment, call (833) AHC-HLTH.

Due to the influenza virus’ ability to mutate, along with your body’s immune system response declining over time, yearly vaccines are advised.

Restrictions are very rare and typically involve infants and people who are allergic to the vaccine or specific components of the vaccine. People who are allergic to gelatin, antibiotics or eggs should consult their physician before getting a flu vaccination.

Your doctor will determine which vaccine is right for you based on your medical history and age range. People of different ages may receive different vaccines from one another, as some components are approved for certain age groups. Inactivated influenza vaccines are approved for children as young as 6 months, while recombinant vaccines are only approved for adults 18 and older.