Every Flu season our doctors see many patients asking similar questions regarding the Flu and Flu Shot. We wanted to answer some of those questions here for you.
What is the Flu?
The flu is a virus caused respiratory illness. You may experience cold-like symptoms but with more severity. Symptoms can also include fever, body aches, and exhaustion.
How long is a person with the flu contagious?
The flu becomes contagious 24-72 hours after contact with the flu virus, often before showing symptoms. Contagiousness lasts up to 24 hours after fever is gone.
What is the treatment for the flu?
The flu can be treated but you have to have the treatment adminstered with 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. There are prescription drugs such as Tamiflu or Relenza which can prevent severe disease and shorten the time sick. To alleviate symptoms, there are many over-the-counter remedies such as cough medicines, fever reducers, and pain reliever. They only alleviate symptoms. They are not a cure.
When should I see the doctor if I have flu symptoms?
Within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms is best because doctors may prescribe you the above mentioned treatments. If the condition worsens or lasts longer than 72 hours, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Can you get the flu from the flu shot?
No you cannot. The vaccine is made from weakened viruses. These cannot give you the flu. The vaccines may trigger an immune response that can be perceived as the flu, but this is not actually the flu.
Who should get the flu shot?
Everyone over the age of 6 months should receive the flu vaccine. Children and the elderly especially. Those with chronic health problems, pregant women, or those caring for children should receive the vaccine.
I got a flu shots last year. Why do I need another one?
There are two reasons for this. One is that the immunity from last year’s shot is weakened. Secondly, the strains of flu prominent every year vary so last year’s vaccines may not protect against this year’s strain.
When should I get the flu shot?
ASAP. Flu season begins sometime around October and first vaccines are available sometime in September.
Does the flu shot mean I will not get the flu?
Not quite. As with every vaccine, it is not always 100% effective. However, studies have shown it is highly effective and those who still get the flu after a flu shot was less likely to have complications.