How does the Flu Shot Work?
Each year, flu season spans from fall to early spring. Because the virus is so widespread and ever-changing, avoiding infection can be nearly immpossible without your annual flu vaccination.
Who Needs a Flu Shot?
If you are one who habitually avoids getting your flu vaccine, consider vaccination to also help prevent exposing others. Many infected individuals may be contagious even if they don’t show physical signs and symptoms of the flu.
Those who live in close quarters with others such as college students and members of the military are at greater risk for exposure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommends annual influenza vaccinations for everyone including:
- Persons over 6 months of age
- Pregnant woman
- Healthcare workers
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- Day care employees
- Home-care providers
- Emergency-response personnel
Are There Any Side Effects to the Flu Vaccine?
Although you cannot get the flu simply from being vaccinated, occasionally people may experience flu-related symptoms within 24 hours of receiving the vaccine. Symptoms are characteristically mild and go away within a day or two.
Possible side effects of the flu vaccine include:
- Low-grade fever
- Swollen or tender area round the vaccination spot
How Long Is the Flu Contagious?
Upon initial infection with the flu you’re typically contagious from 1 day before any symptoms develop. Infection remains for 5-7 days after you start feeling sick.
In addition, kids may be able to spread the virus for even longer, until all of their symptoms fade.