Vaccination practices are considered one of the most important public health achievements of modern medicine. Thanks to the vaccines used to prevent infectious diseases caused by microbes, it has been ensured that many infectious diseases are not seen widely in the society. In this article, we will talk about flu vaccine applications in adults.
Are vaccinations given only to children?
Vaccination during childhood, when we will encounter environmental and community-acquired microbes after birth, prepares our immune system to keep the diseases caused by these microbes or overcome them lighter. Although most of the vaccination practices are carried out during childhood, some vaccines are recommended during adulthood. The main reasons for this are that some vaccines in childhood do not provide lifelong protection, the presence of unvaccinated people in childhood, the frequency of exposure to infectious microbes in work life and social relationships in adulthood.
Do I need vaccination when I get older?
The aging process affects our whole body and causes a partial weakness in our immune system. Also, the probability of having chronic diseases increases with age. Therefore, especially the elderly with chronic diseases become more prone to some infectious diseases. If the disease in question can be prevented by vaccination, these vaccines are recommended in old age.
What are flu sickness and flu microbe?
Although sometimes all kinds of colds are called flu among the people, in fact, flu is a disease caused by influenza viruses and causes complaints such as high fever, fatigue, headache, muscle-joint pain, cough, sore throat. Influenza viruses are divided into three types, A, B and C. Influenza A viruses are also divided into subtypes according to the HA and NA substances on their surface. An important feature of these viruses is that they constantly mutate (change themselves). Therefore, catching the flu once does not provide protection for later years, and seasonal flu outbreaks can occur every year.
What is a flu shot?
Like other vaccines against infectious microbes, the purpose of the flu vaccine is to introduce the microbe to the immune system without causing a disease. While preparing the flu vaccine, the types of microbes in the previous flu epidemic are taken into consideration. Although there are different types of vaccines in the world, the flu vaccines used in our country are inactivated (reproducible germ-free) vaccines against two influenza A and one or two influenza B types and are administered by intramuscular injection. Since the inactivated vaccine is produced in chicken eggs, it contains a small amount of egg protein.
Who is the flu vaccine applied to?
In principle, influenza vaccination can be administered to anyone who wants to get a flu shot and who has no medical impairment. However, some people are in particularly risky groups for influenza and it is strongly recommended that these people get the flu vaccine. Because in these groups, the disease is more severe and the mortality rate from flu is higher. The risk groups that need influenza vaccine in adults and defined in terms of influenza are:
- Over the age of 65
- Pregnant women
- Those staying in a nursing home
- Those have chronic lung disease (asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis)
- Those with chronic heart disease
- People with chronic kidney disease
- People with chronic liver disease
- People with Chronic blood disease (eg sickle cell anemia)
- Those with chronic endocrine / metabolic diseases (eg diabetes)
- Those with neurological diseases (epilepsy, paralysis etc.)
- Those with weak immune systems (cancer patients, long-term cortisone users, etc.)
- Morbid obese people
- Those who will take care of patients at risk of flu (healthcare professionals and households)
When should I get a flu shot?
The protective effect of the flu vaccine begins 1-2 weeks after it is administered. Therefore, it is preferred to do it just before the seasonal flu epidemics, that is, in October-November. However, if the epidemic has not yet started that year, the vaccine can be administered until December. The protection of the vaccine is estimated to be around 6-8 months, but this period is less in the elderly. If the flu vaccine is given too early in adults, it may have lost its protection during the sick season.
What are the side effects of the flu vaccine?
The most common side effects of flu vaccine are malaise, mild fever, pain and/or redness in the applied arm. These side effects are usually not severe and pass quickly. Allergic reactions may rarely occur after flu vaccination; In addition, cases of a condition called oculorespiratory syndrome (eye complaints and respiratory distress) and Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a disease that usually occurs after infections and affects nerve cells) have been reported.
Who cannot get the flu vaccine?
The most important medical drawback of inactivated vaccines used in our country is that the person is allergic to the ingredients of the vaccine. It is not recommended to give flu vaccine to people who have had an allergic reaction when they had a flu vaccine before. Whether it is a problem to vaccinate people with a history of egg allergy is determined by the severity of the egg allergy and, if necessary, some tests.
It is not recommended to get the flu vaccine again for people who have developed a specific neurological disorder (Guillain-Barré Syndrome) after the flu vaccine.
Flu disease is one of the most common infectious diseases in the society. Due to the self-modifying nature of the virus, the person cannot provide lifelong immunity even if the person has the disease or is vaccinated. Therefore, annual vaccination against the flu virus is recommended.
Pediatric allergy-immunologists for immunological-allergic diseases in children, adult allergy-immunology specialists in adults have specialized and they are doctors who are experienced in this field and have a diploma. Patients who are considered allergic to influenza vaccine should be evaluated by an immunology and allergy specialist.