The flu virus can lead to serious health complications and hospitalizations, especially in children and older adults. At Ithaca Primary Care, Dr. Stevanovic offers the highest-quality health care services, including flu shots and wellness exams.
To protect yourself from influenza, call Ithaca Primary Care to schedule a flu shot or book an appointment online today.
Flu Shot Q&A
What is the flu?
The flu, short for influenza, is an infectious virus that targets the respiratory system, specifically the lungs, throat, and nose. This infection is spread through the air and enters the body through the mouth, nose, or eyes.
Common symptoms of the flu include:
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Persistent cough
- Weakness and fatigue
The easiest way to avoid contracting influenza is by getting a flu shot.
Why is a flu shot necessary?
Each year, millions of people become infected with flu, and hundreds of thousands become hospitalized. While many people recover on their own, even the healthiest people can become very sick and require hospitalization. In serious cases, the flu can even lead to death.
Additional influenza complications include:
- Sinus infections
- Ear infections
The flu is very contagious, so getting vaccinated not only protects your health, but also reduces the spread of influenza throughout the community.
How does a flu shot work?
A vaccine protects your body by introducing small amounts of a disease to your system. When your immune system detects this foreign invader, it produces antibodies to protect you from further infection. The flu virus varies from one season to another, so each year experts conduct research to determine which influenza viruses might be the most common. The traditional flu shot is designed to protect you against three viruses:
- Influenza A (H1N1)
- Influenza A (H1N2)
- Influenza B
The flu shot produces antibodies in your system within about two weeks.
Who should get a flu shot?
Individuals over the age of six should get a flu shot; however, some people are at higher risk of flu-related complications, including pregnant and postpartum women and those in long-term care facilities or nursing homes. Men and women over the age of 65, as well as children under the age of five, typically have higher rates of complications.
You should also receive a flu vaccination if you have certain medical conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- Kidney or liver disorders
- Compromised immune system
- COPD or chronic lung diseases
- Blood, metabolic, or endocrine disorders; and
- Neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions.