Flu Shot Facts

We would like to give you some flu shot facts along with some influenza facts. Influenza is a respiratory illness that is caused by a virus. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, chills and fever. The flu is most common in the fall and winter, though you can get it at other times of the year as well. Most people get mild cases of the flu and it will go away without any medical treatment; the virus simply runs its course. In some people, particularly the elderly and those with lung problems or compromised immune systems, the flu can be more serious. It can develop into pneumonia and can even be deadly.

Flu Shot Facts

We want to give you some flu shot facts because the flu shot is one of the best ways to protect yourself from the flu. There is a lot of misinformation out there about the flu shot, however. Many people fear getting the flu from the flu shot, but that is not really possible because the flu shot is not made with live flu virus (it contains killed virus).

The flu shot facts tell us that the flu vaccine is safe and effective for most people. However, some people can have reactions to the flu shot. Most reactions are mild and include things like redness and swelling at the injection site, a low-grade fever, and mild muscle aches. In rare case, serious allergic reactions can occur. There is also a serious neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome that can occasionally be triggered by vaccines. People who have had Guillain-Barre in the past should not get a flu shot (regardless of whether or not the condition was initially triggered by a vaccine) because it could trigger a relapse.

The influenza facts tell us that there are other ways to prevent the flu besides a flu shot. Washing your hands frequently goes a long way toward preventing illness. If you can't wash with soap and water, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

There is also a homeopathic remedy called Instant Immunity that you can use to prevent the flu. We'll tell you more about that in a moment.

The influenza facts tell us that most people who get the flu will actually recover without any treatment. The virus generally runs its course in about a week or so. However, there are some antiviral medications that can help speed the recovery process. These are available by prescription only, so you'll need to see your doctor if you want to try one. Antibiotics are not prescribed for the flu, since the flu is caused by a virus and not bacteria.

The influenza facts do tell us that there are a number of over-the-counter remedies that can treat flu symptoms and help you feel better, though they do not actually cure the flu. There are a lot of over-the-counter remedies to choose from, and some may interact with others if you take them together. You can talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which one would be best for you.

See your doctor in the fall if want to get a flu shot. Ask for some influenza facts and for the flu shot facts. If you do get the flu, you may not need to see a doctor, but do call yours if you have any concerns. You should definitely see a doctor if you have a very high fever, if your symptoms last for more than one week, if you have any pre-existing conditions, or if you have trouble breathing.

More flu shot facts on our symptoms of the flu page

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