Nobody wants to get the flu – the aching, congestion, and nauseating paroxysms of coughing that come with it are enough to make anyone miserable. However, at the same time nobody wants to receive a treatment for it that might be unnecessary or ineffective. The influenza vaccine, known more commonly as the flu shot, is a worthwhile method to protect against the highly contagious influenza virus.
A vaccine exposes your immune system to a dead or weakened virus that you can fight; your body builds up antibodies that allow it to fend off the real virus. The shot contains three seasonal influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season (for the 2011-2012 season the virus strains are two Influenza A viruses, H1N1 and H3N2, as well as one Influenza B virus). Now you may be thinking that your youth and good health will protect you from such infection; but while you will be far less likely to suffer severe complications from the virus, you still run the risk of catching the flu.
With the bitter cold winter season quickly approaching, it is crucial for your body to adjust to changes. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is a great way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and reduce the probability that you will spread it to others. It is important to get the flu shot annually because flu viruses are constantly changing and flu vaccines may be updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and most commonly circulating viruses. Also your immune protection begins to decline overtime, so it is important for your body to “renew” its protection. All it takes is one little shot and you’ll be set!