Influenza, or ‘the flu,’ is a very contagious respiratory illness that makes many people sick in the fall and winter. One of the best ways to avoid contracting the flu is to get a vaccine early in the season, preferably by November each year.
But why is it that we always should get another flu vaccine every year? Shouldn’t the vaccine last longer? There are a few reasons to get vaccinated every year. First, the immune system response to the flu vaccine weakens over the months. So, getting a new vaccine every year is ideal to keep our respiratory systems protected.
Also, the flu vaccine itself is updated annually to keep it most effective against a constantly evolving virus.
Every year, 2000 or so flu virus strains are studied and compared with the properties of the current flu shot. The strains are carefully monitored for any mutations in the current virus. This helps experts to figure out which strains of the virus should be included in the current flu vaccine.
How Flu Spreads in the Body
The flu virus spreads through the respiratory system via aerosolized respiratory droplets when you are in contact with someone who is infected. The common incubation period is about two days, but this can vary.
As most of us know, if you get the flu, you will have a sore throat, cough, runny nose, chills, headaches and general tiredness.
For most people, it takes a few days to recover from the flu, but symptoms for others can last 14 days. We can have complications from the flu, such as sinus/ear infections and bronchitis. Even pneumonia can develop, which can be fatal especially to the elderly and small children.
If you or one of your loved ones does contract the flu, there are many helpful respiratory care products available to ease symptoms. For example, the Vicks 1 Gallon Vaporizer With Safety Light (pictured above) is an effective warm steam vaporizer that provides effective humidity levels for as long as 10 hours, to keep the respiratory system moist. This will relieve many of the annoying symptoms of cold and flu.