Friday, 2 March 2012

Importance of Flu Vaccinations

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With new strains of flu developing all the time, medical science does not promise that getting vaccinated against known flu types will guarantee your protection - but flu shots are often recommended for reducing your risk of catching these viruses.

The flu vaccinations offered by your local clinic or health centre will be specially designed to combat the most common strains of flu currently in circulation, or that are predicted to be contracted by more people during the winter season. In recent years, flu shots offered protection against the H1N1 pandemic, commonly known as swine flu, in addition to other common influenza viruses.

If you have ever suffered from flu, you will be familiar with the discomfort and health risks associated with the condition, which affects people in different ways but can be very serious in some cases, especially when contracted by young children or elderly people. If you are pregnant, or have medical conditions such as asthma, cerebral palsy or epilepsy, flu protection can be especially important. To ensure the best possible protection, many clinics recommend that everyone over the age of six months is vaccinated annually against new and returning influenza strains, which may not be covered by your previous vaccinations.

When you get flu vaccinations, your body will be injected with a small sample of the virus that will cause your immune system to produce antibodies and fight the infection. These antibodies will remain in your system and offer long term protection against this type of influenza for up to a year, though levels of antibodies begin declining after six months.

The flu contained in the vaccination is inactivated and composed of killed virus, so vaccinations do not put your health at risk. There can be exceptions however, and it's often not advised that you get a flu shot if you have previously had bad reactions to other types of vaccines or have a fever on the day of your vaccination. Some types of allergies may also prevent you from being vaccinated, such as an allergy to chicken eggs.

If you have a phobia of needles, or wish to investigate alternative methods of immunisation, your clinic may offer a nasal spray vaccine, which causes an immune reaction in your nose and airways. Unlike the inactive virus contained in vaccinations, the nasal spray flu content is live and in some cases can be transmitted to other people, though it does not give flu to recipients themselves.

The author of this article about flu vaccinations is a part of a digital marketing agency that works with brands like Bupa. The views and opinions expressed within this article belong to the writer and any reference or summary of Bupa Health Information Factsheets or product information is that of the writers and does not represent Bupa or the information contained within the Bupa website. The contents of this article are of a general nature only and do not constitute specific advice.  This article does not take into account your circumstances or needs and must not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice.

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