Importance Of Influenza/Swine Flu Vaccine
Influenza also is known as Flu is one of the most common infectious diseases which affects millions of people every year especially during rainy and winter season.
Swine flu is caused by one of the strains of Influenza virus i.e. H1N1 virus which affects the human beings and causes the following symptoms like fever, cold, sore throat, difficulty in breathing, headache, redness and watering from eyes, cough. It is usually transmitted via air. The virus takes 1 to 5 days to show symptoms after the exposure.
People belonging to any age group can contact this disease and the symptoms are more severe in people who have low immunity, patients with preexisting diseases like Asthma, COPD, Bronchitis, Uncontrolled Diabetes, heart failure, etc. and in pregnant women as well.
The most dreaded complication of this disease is acute respiratory failure which leads long stay in ICU and sometimes death.
The best method of preventing this infection is taking a vaccine against it prior to the winter season. Usually, it is recommended to take the vaccine before or during the month of October. In case you miss taking it at the time, you can also take the vaccine at any given time.
The Influenza vaccine is an inactivated vaccine and the most commonly used vaccine nowadays is a quadrivalent vaccine, which gives you protection from four different strains of influenza virus.
We recommend this vaccine to be taken every year by all age groups except the infants under the age of 6 months.
Once you have taken the vaccine, usually it takes about 2 weeks for the body to produce antibodies, which fights against the virus. A study done in 2013 shows that the efficacy of the vaccine is around 70% – 80% which means that there is a 20%-30% chance that you might contract the flu despite taking the vaccine. However, the benefits of taking the vaccine outweigh the efficacy.
For pregnant women, it is advisable to take the flu vaccine after consultation with the Obstetrician, as it gives protection against the disease and reduces the risk of contracting the infection which is good for both the mother and the newborn, unless advised otherwise due to pre-existing complications.
Influenza vaccines are completely safe and you will not get flu by taking the vaccine. If you’ve heard that you will. it’s just a myth!
However, some of the patients develop soreness at the injection site, might also feel feverish – which is self-limiting. Please inform your doctor if you have an allergy to egg or if you had an allergic reaction to the vaccine previously.
Hope this will help you ensure the safety of you and your loved ones by getting them vaccinated with the influenza vaccine this season and protect them from the deadly complications of the swine flu virus.
Associate Lead Physician
Apollo Home health care limited.