Influenza is a common illness in Singapore. Between 1,500 and 3,500 people suffer from influenza-like sickness each week. Therefore, getting the influenza vaccine plays a key role in protecting your health against this disease.
What is influenza?
Influenza or flu is a highly contagious respiratory viral infection spread by respiratory droplets emitted by coughing and sneezing or through contact with infected surfaces.
Symptoms of influenza are often high fever, sore throat, coughing, headache, muscular pains, and stuffy nose. moreover, sneezing, nasal discharge, lack of appetite, weariness, weakness, chills, and stomach issues are all possible.
What is the influenza vaccine used for?
The influenza vaccine protects against the four influenza viruses that are expected to be the most frequent throughout the forthcoming season. Most ìnluenza vaccines are administered through the needle, generally in the arm, however, there is also a nasal spray flu vaccine.
How effective is the influenza vaccine?
Although the influenza vaccination can not guarantee that you will never get flu, it significantly reduces the risk of getting flu which leads to hundreds of people dying due to influenza every year. It can also make symptoms less severe if someone received the vaccination.
Because flu viruses vary, the influenza vaccine you received last year may not give adequate protection this year. As a result, the vaccination is updated each year to incorporate the most recent strains of the virus. The same virus types are sometimes included in the vaccination from year to year. Though, it’s critical to acquire the yearly flu vaccination since the antibodies to the influenza virus decline over time.
Additionally, the influenza vaccine not only protects you against the flu. It also aids in the protection of the individuals and communities around you. The influenza vaccine reduces the possibility of getting the flu and hence the transmission of the disease. Getting the influenza vaccine is an excellent approach to protect those who are vulnerable to the flu, such as the elderly, newborns and people with chronic illnesses like asthma.
Who should get the influenza vaccine?
The flu shot is advised for everyone, but especially for those who are at high risk of developing influenza complications:
- The elderly are aged 65 and up
- Women who are pregnant in any trimester
- Individuals suffering from chronic medical diseases such as diabetes, heart, lung, liver, and renal disease
People who have a decreased physical resistance to infections as a result of:
Conditions such as leukemia, HIV, splenectomy, and organ transplantation
Taking pills or getting treatment, such as long-term steroids, cancer treatments, or radiation therapy
Residents of intermediate and long-term care institutions
Individuals aged 18 and under who are getting long-term aspirin treatment
Who should not get the influenza vaccine?
The following people should not get an influenza shot:
- Children under the age of six months
- People who are severely allergic to any element in an influenza vaccine (other than egg proteins) should not receive it. Gelatin, antibiotics, and other substances may be included.
- People who have had a severe adverse reaction to an influenza vaccination dosage should not get that flu vaccine again and may be ineligible for additional influenza vaccines.
If you have previously experienced an adverse reaction to an influenza vaccine, you should consult with your doctor to decide whether immunization is safe for you.
Both forms of vaccines have the potential to cause minor adverse effects. The influenza vaccine which includes a dead flu virus is often administered as an injection in the upper arm or leg. However, it can result in discomfort, redness, or edema at the injection site. It may occasionally make you be fever or body pains.
The nasal spray flu vaccination includes live flu viruses that have been weakened. As a result, minor symptoms such as a runny nose, wheezing, sore throat, vomiting, or exhaustion may occur. It may have an impact on your body’s temperature, like the injection.
People, particularly teenagers, can faint after receiving a shot. To avoid this, sit or lie down for 15 minutes immediately after an injection.
If children have any side effects, consult with the doctor about administering acetaminophen or ibuprofen and then they will determine the appropriate dose.
The majority of adverse effects are minor and generally last a day or two, such as slightly elevated fever muscular pains painful arm where the needle was inserted. This is more likely to occur in those 65 and older.
To assist alleviate the ache, you should continue moving your arm regularly and take a pain reliever such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Some people, particularly pregnant women, should avoid taking ibuprofen unless their doctor prescribes it. A warm, moist towel or a heating pad over the injection site, as well as moving or utilizing the arm is an effective way to relieve pain.
If you are sensitive to eggs or have previously had a severe adverse response to the influenza vaccine, you may be unable to get this vaccine.
Inform your vaccine provider if you have a weakened immune system due to sickness or medication usage, or Guillain-Barre syndrome history within 6 weeks after receiving an influenza vaccine.
Even if you have a slight cold, you may still be vaccinated. Wait until you feel better if you have a more serious sickness with a fever or any form of infection before getting this vaccination. If you are pregnant or nursing, ask your doctor whether you are eligible to get the vaccine.