Seasonal Flu Jab, Protect Yourself With Flu Vaccine Every Year
3D Section through Influenza Virus
Viruses have evolved over millions of years, they are the most common biological units on the planet. Understand them and protect yourself against the flu viru
Get the Flu Jab
Flu Vaccine Facts
- Trimerosal preservative are only used in vials that requires multiple needle insertions. Each insertion increases the risk of microbes contamination.
- Flu vaccine is available in single dose syringes that contain no trimerosal
- Flu vaccine can be given as a nasal spray
- Catching the flu can be unpleasant for most of us, but for some, it can lead to severe complications, hospitalisation and death
Globally, Seasonal flu accounts for about 3 to 5 million causes of severe illness annually and between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths.
- Seasonal flu vaccine is given to millions of people in the UK each year. The specific strains of flu that are included may change from one year to the next but vaccines are still thoroughly tested and are safe
- According to WHO, the flu vaccine is one of the safest in the world
- The flu jab cannot give you the flu. A small number of people experience side effects such as aching muscles, however, this is simply the immune system responding to the vaccine
- A person can carry and pass the virus on to others without having any symptoms themselves
- Flu Vaccine should be taken every year
- According to the WHO, Flu vaccine works, trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine generally gives 60-80 per cent protection against infection.
- WHO cites clean water and vaccination as the two interventions that have the greatest impact on public health
- Pregnant women can have the vaccine at any stage of their pregnancy. Having the vaccination is beneficial and helps protect the baby from flu over the first few months of life
Seasonal Flu Jab, protect Yourself with Flu Vaccine Every Year.
Autumn is here and despite the exceptionally good weather, the leaves are turning gold in readiness for the spectacular fall that also heralds the beginning of the flu season. Now is the time when seasonal flu viruses start the hunt for hospitable hosts in which to spend their winter vacation.
Yes, my friends, it is that time of the year again, so don't wait for the first flu symptoms, protect yourselves from the deeds of those dastardly influenza viruses.
Outbreaks of influenza can occur as early as October, most often, it peaks in January or later. Flu outbreaks can happen as late as May. Since immunity takes two weeks to develop in the body, it makes good sense to get the flu jab sooner rather than later.
As front line Health Care Workers (HCW) involved in direct patient care, nurses are encouraged to take up the offer of annual trivalent seasonal influenza vaccination that gives protection against two influenza A viruses, (an H1N1 and an H3N3) and an influenza B virus.
A yearly flu vaccine not only protects HCW, their colleagues, close friends, and family but most importantly, it can help save the lives of vulnerable patients in our care.
When the scheme offering the flu vaccine to HCW was first launched in the UK in 2001/02, many workers were reluctant to take up the offer. The reason was partly due to certain ambiguities that existed around the safety of the vaccine at the time.
The flu vaccine, we were told, contained certain substances that some experts insist are hazardous to health. Chicken eggs are used to cultivate the viruses used in the flu vaccine, some people are allergic to eggs, and this presents a real problem.
Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccine for its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Mercury is a known neurotoxin and precaution has been taken to remove thimerosal as a preservative in all childhood vaccine, except for inactivated influenza vaccine for children and adults in multi-dose vials. Currently, there are no acceptable alternative means of preserving the vaccine in multi-dose vials. However, the flu vaccine can be administered in single-dose syringes that are less likely to become contaminated.
Flu vaccine was also linked to an acute auto-immune disorder that affects the peripheral nerve system, causing muscle weakness and in some cases paralysis, known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). Although the increased risk was small, approximately one additional case of GBS from 100,000 people given the swine flu vaccine, this caused much debate and resistance to the vaccine.
According to the CDC, " the most recent and rigorous scientific research does not support the argument that thimerosal-containing vaccine is harmful." If you have doubts do the research and always discuss the pros and cons with your health care provider.
Two years ago, in the winter of 2012, both my husband and myself was struck down by a particularly virulent strain of the influenza virus. I'm not sure what the particular strain of flu virus was, but it was relentless and very disabling. The flu symptoms were the worst that either of us had ever experienced. Consequently; last year, I made it a priority to get the flu shot.
Whether by coincidence or due to the effectiveness of the flu jab, we made it through 2013 without a single sniffle, you bet I'll be taking my jab again this year.
UK research has shown that the 2012 to 2013 influenza season has seen the highest recorded uptake of the influenza vaccine among HCW in England since the program began.
Studies also show that seasonal flu shots have reduced the risk of influenza viral infections. When HCW are vaccinated, the rates of flu-like illness, hospitalization, and mortality in vulnerable patients in health care settings is reduced.
Benefits gained when more people take up the offer and get a yearly flu jab is also reflected in the general community. The best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated annually. It is recommended that everyone above the age of 6 months is immunized against the flu virus.
According to the CDC, “Over the period of 30 years between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from low of about 3,000 to a high of above 49,000 people. During the regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occurred in people 65 years and older.”
Factors that determine an individual's suitability for the flu vaccination or a particular vaccine are:
- Current or past health
- Relevant allergies such as egg allergy in particular.
In such cases, doctors and health care providers will advise the best course of action.
What is a Virus
A virus is a small infectious microscopic organism consisting of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat. It is too small to be seen by light microscopy and can only replicate within the living cells of a host.
Viruses can infect all types of life forms, including animals, bacteria, plants and a domain of single-celled micro-organisms known as archaea.
Scientists are still debating whether or not viruses are live organism. Either way, we know that they can invade the cells of the body to reap havoc with our health if we do not take appropriate action to prevent the invasion.
Two scientists contributed to the discovery of the first virus, the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). Dmitri Ivanovski in 1892 was the first to identify the infection in tobacco leaves. Ivanovski found that the new agent was small enough to pass through a porcelain filter able to trap and remove all known bacteria visible under a microscope.
Martinus Beijerinck was the first to show that the virus was an infectious soluble agent, a soluble living germ, able to migrate in aga gel, and was not a small type of bacteria, but a new disease causing particle. He was the first to call 'virus,' the incitant of the tobacco mosaic.
With the development of the electron microscope in the late 1930s, scientists were able to see the structure of the TMV for the first time.
There are 219 virus species known to be able to infect humans. The first to be discovered was the yellow fever virus in 1901 by Walter Reed. Around three or four new species of viruses are found each year.
The 1918-1919 Spanish flu pandemic was the deadliest in human history, referred to as 'the mother of all pandemic' the flu virus infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide, around one-third of the people occupying the planet at that time. The flu virus claimed the lives of between 20 million to 50 million people. Many of the deaths were as a result of secondary bacterial infection.
Germs can spread easily, use tissues, dispose of them carefully and wash hands thoroughly
Yearly Flu Shots
Do you get a flu shot every year?
What is influenza or Flu?
Influenza is a contagious viral infection caused by influenza viruses. It typically infects the nose, throat and lungs. The spread of the condition mainly occurs by droplets. However, when an individual is infected with a virus, the infection can spread by a cough, sneeze or by talk. Droplets containing the flu virus can enter the mouths or noses of people nearby.
Flu can also be transmitted when someone touches a surface or object that is contaminated with the flu virus then touch their own nose, mouth or eyes. Influenza can cause mild to very severe illness that can lead to death in some cases.
Seasonal Flu Vaccine
There are two types of flu vaccine available, they both gives protection against seasonal flu:
- Inactivated flu vaccine, this vaccine is recommended for people who are 65 years and over, pregnant women, people with particular medical conditions, those living in residential homes, those caring for patients who are at risk from complications of the flu and HCW
- Nasal Flu Vaccine, This vaccine is administered as a spray. Nasal flu vaccine became available in the NHS from September 2014 to all children aged 2 to 4 years. Children 2 to 18 years who are considered at risk from the flu virus, such as those with long-term health conditions will also be offered annual nasal flu vaccine. The vaccine will be introduced gradually over a period.
Seasonal influenza can be extremely unpredictable, severity can vary widely from season to season depending on factors such as:
- The type of flu virus
- Flu vaccine available
- When vaccine is available
- The number of people who get vaccinated
- Matching the vaccine to a particular flu virus
Flu Symptoms include:
- Fever, not everyone with the flu will have a fever
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Vomiting and diarrhoea, more common in children than in adults
Complications of Influenza can include:
- Bacterial pneumonia
- Ear Infections
- Sinus infections
- Exacerbation of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma and Congestive heart failure
Cold and Flu Symptoms, Know the difference
Comes on suddenly, lasts around 3-4 days, (100-102 degrees F)
Mild to moderate, hacking cough
Tiredness, bodyache, weakness and headache
Rare and mild
Common can be severe, comes on suddenly and can last for several weeks
Sneezing, runny/stuffy nose and sore throat
Mild to moderate
Common can be severe
Wash hands often with soap and water, carry and use alcohol wipes and hand gel. These can be useful when hand washing facilities are not available
CDC urges, take 3 actions to fight the flu
Take time to get a flu vaccine
Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs
Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them
Campaign Video against the vaccine
© 2014 Jo Alexis-Hagues