April 6, 2017, 10:26 a.m.
Influenza/the flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year.
Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.
An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting the flu and spreading it to others.
When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.
Who should get vaccinated?
The latest guideline suggest everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season.
It is even more important for people who are 65 years old and above, children below 5, or for people who has asthma, chronic lung condition like COPD, heart condition, diabetes, kidney disease or liver disease.
Pregnant lady should also go for flu vaccination.
Who should not get the flu vaccine?
Children younger than 6 months are too young to get a flu shot.
People with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine.
How about egg allergy?
If you have an allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Talk to your doctor about your allergy. The recommendations for vaccination of people with egg allergies have changed for 2016-2017. Most people with mild-moderate allergy reaction to egg can still get the vaccination but those with severe egg allergies should be vaccinated in a medical setting and be supervised by a health care provider.
A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, the body's immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and sometimes updated to keep up with changing flu viruses.
Yes you still can get the seasonal flu. The ability of flu vaccine to protect a person depends on various factors, including the age and health status of the person being vaccinated, and also the similarity or "match" between the viruses used to make the vaccine and those circulating in the community.
However, it's important to remember that even when the viruses are not closely matched, the vaccine can still protect many people and prevent flu complications.
Flu vaccine is safe. The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that may occur are:Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given and low grade fever and aches.
(Dr Lee Chong Han )