Flu Season 2010-11: How to stay healthy?

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Flu season generally starts in November, peaks in January, February, and March, and winds down in May. This year health officials are planning ahead of time to provide flu shots to people as last year’s flu season was troublesome for all people when swine flu pandemic affected millions of people and vaccine shortages led to frustration. Health officials are expecting that flu might hit early this year, although not assured.   To fight this unpredictable situation they are approaching people to get the shots, even before flu season and recommending that the protection should last throughout the flu season.

There might be various questions lingering in your mind regarding flu shot. Here is some of the information on flu shots that will help you to stay healthy during flu season.

What is the flu shot?
The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses- 2009 H1N1 swine flu, H3N2 virus and an influenza B virus.

 Who should get a seasonal flu shot?
Health experts say that everyone including 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year starting with the 2010-2011 influenza season. However, some people are at higher risk of having serious flu-related complications such as

  • Pregnant women
  • Children younger than 5
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu

What are the possible side effects of flu shot?
A vaccine may rarely cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. Almost all people who get influenza vaccine have no serious problems from it.  However it may cause...



temporarily side affects, which lasts for a day or two.

  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • Fever (low grade)
  • Aches

Can I get sick with flu-like symptoms even after my flu shot?
According to CDC, there could be several reasons for getting flu-like symptoms even after you have been vaccinated against the flu.

  • You might be exposed to an influenza virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period. It takes the body, two weeks, to gain protection after getting vaccinated.
  • People may become ill from other (non-flu) viruses that circulate during the flu season, which can also cause flu-like symptoms (such as rhinovirus).

When does the vaccine become available?
Flu vaccine is already available. You can get more information in your nearby health clinic or pharmacy stores.  To meet expected need, five manufacturers are producing about 165 million doses, which is the highest quantity ever produced. 

Will swine flu be back this year?
Health officials are anticipating H1N1 swine flu this year but not with the same intensity as last year. The flu vaccine will provide you protection against both seasonal flu virus and Swine flu virus.

Seasonal influenza vaccine provides the good protection against seasonal flu viruses. If you are pregnant, or have weakened immune system, you should get your shot as early as possible to stay healthy.

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