Here are 8 facts from the doctors at the Occupational & Environmental Medicine Unit,
Singapore General Hospital, to help you decide if you should get the flu shot.
The flu season is upon us again! And it’s also the time to consider getting yourself vaccinated against it if you haven't already done so.
But why is it so important to get the flu jab?
According to the
Ministry of Health
, “Influenza, also known as the flu, is an infection caused by influenza viruses. Despite being commonly confused with the common cold, which is caused by other respiratory viruses, influenza is usually more severe.”
1) You won’t get flu from the vaccination
The influenza vaccine contains inactivated virus. And
dead viruses can’t make you sick
. But they do stimulate your immune system to make antibodies that would protect you from the influenza viruses that you have been vaccinated against.
2) Are you pregnant? You can and should receive the flu shot
Not only is it safe for pregnant women
to get the vaccine, it is essential. Because pregnant women have a higher risk of developing complications from influenza.
3) Allergic to eggs? You can still get the flu shot
Most influenza vaccines contain a small amount of egg proteins because the viruses used to make the vaccines have been incubated in eggs. However, severe reactions in people with egg allergies are rare
. A recent CDC study found that only 1 in a million gets a life-threatening allergic reaction.
4) Get vaccinated before you travel
Air travel speeds up the spread of diseases – including influenza – just like how SARS was in Hong Kong one day and in Singapore within 4 hours. Getting vaccinated before you travel means you won't bring the flu virus back to Singapore and infect your family and friends.
5) You could be a carrier of the flu virus and not know it
6) The flu virus is a tough nut
It can "live" for more than a day
on hard surfaces. Hence, it's always recommended that you should wash your hands before you eat or touch any part of your face.
7) You need a flu shot every year because the virus mutates quickly and often
The influenza virus mutates frequently
. So this year's 'popular' strains of viruses would be different from last year's. This means the flu shot you had last year would not protect you from the current influenza. That's why CDC recommends an annual vaccination every year.
8) The vaccine is the best way to keep yourself and others safe from the flu
Make that decision now to get yourself and your loved ones vaccinated against influenza.