Your Annual Flu Shot Is More Important Than Ever

Fall is a time for cooler weather, changing colors, and the beginning of school. It is also the time for everyone to be on the lookout for the viruses common to the season, as allergies, colds, flu, bronchitis, and a number of other illnesses become more of a problem. The CDC estimates that the flu alone was responsible for over 30 million people getting sick, almost half a million hospitalizations and nearly 35,000 deaths in 2019. So every attempt to get ahead of them will help everyone. And an important way to help is the annual flu shot. 

Dr. Yadwinder Kang and the staff at 1st Choice Urgent Care have been serving the Bakersfield, California, area for decades, helping patients with many quality medical services, including flu shots.

What is a flu shot?

Flu shots are an injection of a flu vaccine (most often an egg-based vaccine, but can be made by other means), often given in the arm. Most vaccines are designed to protect against multiple strains of the flu that researchers suspect may strike during the season. There are different types of shots, including trivalent and quadrivalent flu vaccines. 

Trivalent flu vaccines protect against three types of flu (two types of influenza A, called H1N1 and H3N2, and influenza B) and come in regular or high-dose shots. Regular dose shots can be used by anyone ages 18-65, but high-dose shots are generally for people 65 and older, as a high percentage of flu related deaths can happen in that age group.

Quadrivalent flu vaccines work against four strains of flu (two types of influenza A and B). It comes in a few different forms:

The type of vaccine you get varies depending on a number of factors, including age and medical history.

How does it help to prevent the flu?

The vaccine helps to build antibodies against multiple strains of flu (how many depends on the shot you get), which allows your body protection from infection. Protection from getting the flu is important to everyone, but can be of great help to people over 65, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions (diabetes, asthma, heart disease, HIV, etc.), and people with weakened immune systems. While most people can get through the flu if they get infected, many of those in high-risk groups are in danger of dying from complications.

Why should people get it once a year? 

The flu, like many viruses, can infect people any time of year, but is very common in the fall season. As a result, this is the time of year most are encouraged to get vaccinated. Since the virus changes and evolves over a short period of time, annual vaccination to protect against new strains is vital in avoiding the rise and spread of a flu outbreak.

So if you haven’t gotten a flu vaccination yet, make an appointment with Dr. Kang and 1st Choice Urgent Care to get protection from flu for the season.

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