The influenza vaccine which is known also as Flu jab. It is a vaccine that is recommended to be taken annually in order to prevent infection by the influenza virus. Influenza virus affects people during the flu season every winter. Every injected seasonal influenza vaccine contains 3 influenza viruses: one A (H3N2) virus, one regular seasonal A (H1N1) virus, and one B virus. The vaccine is the most effective method to prevent infection with the influenza virus and to prevent the serious complications associated with the disease. All over the world, seasonal influenza kills about 250,000 to 500,000 every year. Hence it is extremely important to vaccinate people, especially the vulnerable group, children and individuals who are more prone to the disastrous complications of influenza.
High risk groups who are likely to suffer from severe complications of the flu and who must be given the flu jab are pregnant women, children and teenagers from the age of six months to 18 years of age. It is of great importance to vaccinate children of school going age as they come in contact with many others of the same age group in school and at play. The adults who also come in contact with these children will be protected from influenza in the long run. Children born to mothers who have been given the flu vaccine are strongly protected from influenza and its deadly complications.
It is also advisable to administer the vaccine to healthy working adults, as it has been seen that they suffer from fewer episodes of upper respiratory tract infections which in turn leads to less amounts of days lost from work. It is also best to give a flu jab to hospital staff, health care workers, doctors, nurses as they come in contact with people suffering from flu more often than others.
The World Health Organization has suggested that yearly influenza vaccination be administered to those who are at a great risk of suffering from influenza and its complications. The high risk group individuals include:
- · Those above the age of 65 years
- · Patients suffering from chronic renal disease
- · Patients suffering from heart ailments like congenital heart disease, ischaemic heart disease, chronic heart failure
- · Those patients suffering from chronic lung diseases like COPD, Bronchial Asthma
- · Children between the ages of six months to two years.
- · Pregnant women
- · Those working in the healthcare industry like hospitals, nursing homes.
- · Those who have a weak immune system or are immunosuppressed like those suffering from HIV, those who have undergone chemotherapy or who have taken long term steroids
- · People who stay together in huge numbers like prisons, dormitories and nursing homes.
Complications of Influenza: If you are a young and healthy adult you might not suffer from any complications. During the course of the illness though you might feel completely miserable but you will recover slowly and have no long lasting effects. Those who are vulnerable and at a higher risk may develop complications like pneumonia, Bronchitis, ear infections like otitis media and sinus infections. If you are suffering from any previous debilitating illness or are immunocompromised, pneumonia can be one of the most dreaded complications and prove fatal. Hence the best method of protection is the flu jab which can protect you against both the influenza and pneumonia as well.
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