Whenever it’s cold and raining outside, flu season is open and flu viruses are in peak season. The mucous membrane, weakened by the cold and dry air of the heating, does not have much to counteract the intruders and you have already caught the flu or a cold. Unlike a simple cold, the predominantly seasonal viral flu, also known as the flu, can be very dangerous. Especially those to one risk group heard, is therefore asked to undergo the flu vaccination every year.
How does the flu shot work?
Influenza vaccination is a so-called active vaccination. Here comes a live vaccine for use. This means that the active ingredient contains flu viruses. However, in a weakened form. If these are administered to the human body, the human immune system recognizes the intruder and increases its defense functions. However, since the viruses in the syringe are weakened samples, there is no real danger. However, during the course of vaccination, mild flu symptoms may still occur a few days later, which disappear after a few days.
The advantage of this vaccination method is that the body recognizes the virus as an antigen and antibody the shapes. The immune system stores the blueprint for these cells, so to speak, so that they can be accessed at any time if needed.
Influenza vaccination: which active ingredient do I need?
Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) determines which of these weakened flu viruses (see explanation above) are used for the flu vaccine. In recent years, four different strains of influenza virus have been in circulation, two strains A and two strains B. As a rule, three different types of influenza virus have been used in the vaccine so far. However, because many people were suspected to have contracted the flu despite vaccination, vaccines with four types of the virus have been available since 2013. This Quadruple flu vaccination it is therefore directed against all four tribes and should therefore have more complete protection. STIKO now also recommends quadruple flu shots. However, whether the costs for this will be borne by the legal health insurance company will probably only be decided in the new year.
Influenza vaccination and coronavirus: what needs to be considered?
Especially during the corona pandemic, STIKO and the Robert Koch Institute recommend vaccinating risk groups against influenza. Vaccine doses were increased to 25 million last year – last year there were about 16.5 million vaccine doses. Due to contact restrictions and hygiene measures, there was no flu outbreak last year. The fears of doctors and scientists that there could be high infections or even double infections did not materialize.
As the World reported, US researchers warn of a flu outbreak this year, as no immunity could be created due to last year’s few flu cases. Microbiologist Hensley recommends getting vaccinated.
More on this: Will the flu surge come in the fall? Experts warn >>
The difference between active and passive vaccination
Active vaccination thus becomes a permanent immunization reached up. On the contrary, the passive vaccination, the antibodies are administered directly. This method works faster, but it has a big one Downside: Since the immune system has not recognized the allergen itself in this way, it is unable to subsequently produce the corresponding antibodies. With both vaccination methods, however, a new vaccination every year is recommended, as viruses can adapt and present themselves in a different form each year. Since the danger of these viruses is difficult to assess in advance, a so-called booster vaccination essential.
When should i get vaccinated?
The body needs some time for antibodies to form. On average, it takes about two weeks for vaccine doses to take full effect. We therefore recommend that you register in advance October or November to take care of the prevention of influenza. If possible, you should go to a doctor for vaccination before the flu season, which lasts from December to April. It should also be remembered that vaccination only protects against the flu. The active ingredient is useless against other viruses or even bacteria.
Commission recommendations for vaccinations: who should be vaccinated?
Influence is often underestimated. She can if left untreated, it can lead to pneumonia or even death. Indeed, the apparent harmlessness of the flu is due to the fact that it is often dismissed as a mild cold. However, people die from the flu every year. In some flu seasons there have also been up to 30,000 deaths in Germany.
The Standing Commission for Vaccination (STIKO) therefore recommends vaccination to all those who are at risk of developing a disease risk group belong. A risk group includes those whose immune systems are weakened:
- elderly people over the age of 60
- People who care for customers or patients, such as employees of hospitals, nursing homes, day care centers or supermarkets
- chronically ill (e.g. with diabetes, asthma or immunodeficiency)
- allergy sufferers
- Pregnant women from the 4th month
Pregnant women who have a cold are more likely to develop complications such as pneumonia due to their weakened immune systems. It can also happen that the unborn child in the womb is disturbed in its development by the infection. STIKO therefore recommends vaccination for all healthy pregnant women from the fourth month of pregnancy. Pregnant women with chronic diseases should be vaccinated first. Various studies so far have been able to provide credible evidence that vaccination poses no danger to either the mother or the baby. On the contrary – while newborns can only be vaccinated from the sixth month, the active ingredient is also administered to the unborn child during vaccination. As a result, it already carries antibodies and is immune. Pharmaceutical company GalxoSmithKline advises that people who are hypersensitive to the components of a vaccine should not be vaccinated or should be vaccinated with an alternative vaccine. In case of febrile illnesses and acute infections, vaccination must be postponed to a later date.
Influenza vaccination: side effects
The flu shot is generally well tolerated. Ironically, the possible side effects of flu protection include: flu symptoms such as:
- muscle aches
- chills or sweating
In addition, redness or swelling at the puncture site may occasionally occur. However, these vaccine reactions disappear after a short time. There are also studies that should show that there are more side effects. For example, vaccination should increase the likelihood of heart attack or the risk of thrombosis. The mercury content of the active ingredient is also repeatedly criticized. the STIKO but also, for example, the American health authority CDC abides by the recommendation on vaccination for groups at risk.
Influence – persistent myths and real facts
There are a multitude of mythsrelated to the flu shot. Since true flu is a serious illness, it is important to know the facts to dispel the myths.
“The flu shot really hurts me!”
It’s really like this? Or why can’t it be? Persistent myths about the flu shot are presented and examined for their truth content in the video. It explains why the real flu (flu) is not a common cold, why antibiotics are not effective against the flu, and why the flu can be dangerous not only for older people. These and other facts about the flu will help you understand why getting the flu shot makes sense.
In the case of the real flu virus, the infected feel suddenly sick, complaining of a high fever and severe headache and body aches. Complications such as pneumonia or inflammation of the heart muscle are feared, which can be serious. While a cold usually improves significantly within a few days, the flu can take a long time to develop.
The Standing Commission for Vaccination (STIKO) recommends vaccination for people over the age of 60, pregnant women and people of all ages with underlying diseases such as eg. B. chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes or immune defects.
Also interesting: Dr. Heinz-Wilhelm Esser, specialist in internal medicine, pulmonology and cardiology, answers questions about the flu and coronal period >>