Influenza, commonly called the flu, is not only an annoyance, but can be debilitating and can even kill you. Up to 60,000 people die every year from the flu, so being protected is extremely important.
Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness that is caused by the influenza virus. There are two primary types of fly virus: Type A and Type B. There are many sub-variants – and they change every year. One of those strains that people have been talking about is the common H1N1 strain.
Located around the world are influenza surveillance centers that annually monitor the most common strains, collecting data and identifying new and evolving strains. Once the information has been collected, the World Health Organization selects the three strains most likely to circulate during the following flu season. This decision is typically made in February, allowing the development of a new vaccine to begin around midsummer.
Not only due the strains evolve, but your body’s immune response will change over time. These two evolving changes in the overall issue of “flu” mean you should get a flu shot every year. The best time is approximately one month after the latest flu vaccine has been released (typically in September or October).
The vaccine isn’t always as effective in preventing infection as people might like – but regardless, a flu vaccine will reduce the severity of the illness, and will keep most infected people out of the hospital. Is it worth it? Absolutely.