Many experts are stressing the importance of flu shots more than ever this year. As we enter into flu season, we are still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic so it’s important to do whatever we can to protect ourselves and stay healthy. And the flu shot is a great tool for many people to do just that!

If you’re curious about the safety, side effects, and facts about the flu shot, we understand.

That’s why we’ve created this post to answer the questions you might have. But remember, this is not specific medical advice, rather it’s general information meant to keep you informed.

To learn more or find out if the flu shot is right for you, please contact Restore Health Urgent Care in Palm Bay, Florida.

Flu shots: what are the facts?

First of all, let’s discuss what a flu shot is: it’s an annual vaccine meant to protect against certain strains of influenza. Each year, flu virus strains change, so the vaccine must change along with it. Leading up to the flu season, scientists make educated predictions about which strains will be the most common during the upcoming season. To learn more about flu vaccine “match,” take a look at this post.

Each annual vaccine protects against three (trivalent) or four (quadrivalent) influenza strains depending on what research suggests.

What kind of flu shots are there?

There are a number of trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines licensed for use in the United States. The CDC does not express any preference for certain vaccines over another. It often comes down to availability and what’s age-appropriate for that particular patient.

Trivalent vaccines are often suited to people over 65. They can include an adjuvant, or an ingredient that creates an even stronger immune response. Another high-dose influenza vaccine known as Fluzone High-Dose is another trivalent vaccine licensed for people 65+.

Some examples of quadrivalent influenza vaccines include Fluarix Quadrivalent, FluLaval Quadrivalent, and Afluria Quadrivalent. Most standard-dose quadrivalent flu shots are manufactured using the virus grown in eggs, but there are also egg-free vaccines available.

Who should get a flu shot?

The Centers for Disease Control recommend that everyone over the age of six months gets an annual flu vaccine, and there are only a few exceptions to this. In addition to people under six months of age, those with certain life-threatening, severe allergies should also not get the vaccine. This can include people with allergies to gelatin and particular antibiotics.

Click here to learn more about special considerations regarding egg allergies and the flu vaccine.

Even if you receive a vaccine, it’s still important to do what you can to give yourself additional protection. Here are some handy flu prevention tips and treatment techniques. 

Are flu shots safe?

Hundreds of millions of Americans have been safely receiving annual flu shots for over 50 years now. It is widely considered a safe, practical, and effective way to protect yourself against many flu strains.

What are the side effects of flu shots?

Life-threatening allergies to the flu shot are incredibly rare. There are some milder, more common reactions or side effects that may occur, including:

  • Soreness, swelling, or redness at the injection site
  • Low-grade headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches

If you do experience any of these effects, they are typically mild and will resolve on their own within a few days. If you’re concerned, please contact your doctor about ongoing symptoms.

Why are flu vaccines important?

According to the CDC, American hospitals admit more than 200,000 people each year for flu-related symptoms. Understandably, this places a great toll on the healthcare system, even though it is well-equipped to handle a standard flu season.

But the healthcare system is facing an even greater strain than ever this year with COVID-19 hospitalizations. When we all play our part in doing what we can to stop or slow the spread of illnesses including the flu or coronavirus, we help minimize the strain on the healthcare system while also taking care of ourselves!

Numerous studies support the importance of the flu shot too. According to a CDC-supported study from 2018, adults who had the flu shot reduced their risk of being admitted to the hospital for the flu by 37 percent. It’s also proven to be effective in reducing the severity of the flu, as it reduced the likelihood of adults being admitted to the ICU with the flu by 82 percent.

To learn more about the risks for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated people, click here. 

When should I get a flu shot?

In most cases, getting a flu shot as soon as it becomes available is a good idea! The flu season is from October to May, so vaccines are usually available by early October. If you don’t get yours in October, it’s still worthwhile getting yours later in the flu season.

Get your flu shots at Restore Health Urgent Care

Restore Health Urgent Care provides flu shots to Floridians each year at our walk-in clinic as well as by appointment. Not only do we offer flu shots, but our other services include treating a number of non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries. See a comprehensive list of our services here.

Thanks to our on-site laboratory services, digital imaging, and X-ray services we can usually treat you and your family within 15 minutes of check-in! Book an appointment online now to get started.