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Get Ahead of the Flu with the Flu Shot

Written by Shadi Salehyar

With flu season just on the horizon, Families Together of Orange County is gearing up on flu shots and preparing to help ensure our patients are safe from the flu. Flu symptoms can be terribly uncomfortable; your body aches with every movement, your throat is scratchy, and you have a fever that can reach as high as 104 degrees. Some particularly bad cases could even kill you, especially if you’re immunocompromised or if you catch it alongside another serious illness like pneumonia. This is why Families Together advocates for all of our patients to receive their flu shots annually.

For anyone who is unsure about how the flu works and why the vaccine is so essential, Families Together has created this comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to know about the flu and the preventive steps you can take to avoid it.

What is the Flu?

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness that causes influenza viruses which infect the nose, throat, and occasionally the lungs. There are four main types of flu viruses: A, B, C, and D. Influenza A and B viruses are the seasonal ones we’re most familiar with, as they circulate every winter. C brings about mild illness, and D mainly affects cattle and isn’t a threat to humans.

How Does the Flu spread?

According to the CDC, most experts believe that the flu virus spreads through droplets that are produced when people who are infected with the virus cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets then land in the noses and mouths of others or are perhaps inhaled through their lungs, causing them to become infected with the virus as well. It’s important to note that some people can have the flu and be completely asymptomatic, meaning that even though they don’t know they’re sick, they can still spread the virus to others. Receiving the flu vaccine not only safeguards your health but also provides protection to those in your vicinity from the virus.

What is in a Flu Vaccine?

Flu vaccines meant to combat influenza A and B viruses contain inactive flu viruses, stabilizers, preservatives and substances that encourage an immune response. All of these ingredients are perfectly safe and effective. Since the virus is constantly changing, researchers and manufacturers collaborate to update the vaccine annually to keep it working well. Patients can receive their vaccines with two different methods: injection and nasal spray. Only people aged 2–49 should receive the vaccine through a nasal spray. The injection contains tiny amounts of harmless, deactivated flu viruses, while the nasal spray contains live viruses that have been weakened and are therefore harmless as well.

Are Flu Vaccines Safe?

According to the CDC, hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years, and the vaccine has managed to have a good safety record. There has been extensive research to support its safety and effectiveness. Getting a flu vaccine is the primary and most effective method to lower your risk of contracting the flu and transmitting it to others.

Who Should Get the Flu vaccine?

The CDC advises that all individuals aged 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine annually.

In order to protect the community from the flu, Families Together will be offering flu vaccines to all patients again this year. If you would like to make an appointment for yourself or any of your loved ones, you can do so by calling 1 (800) 597-7977 or by visiting the Families Together website to request an appointment.