Influenza: 7 questions and answers about the flu


The best prevention of influenza: influenza. Image: KEYSTONE

Hello, opponents of the vaccine – these 7 responses to the influenza vaccine are especially for you

Today, November 9, is the national influenza day. Those who receive vaccination on this day benefit from the recommended flat-rate amount of 30 francs. Interested parties may use the offer spontaneously in one of the medical practices or pharmacies involved in the action.

Many people do not want to be vaccinated – for various reasons. However, a highly contagious flu ("flu") is often underestimated because they like to confuse it with a highly harmful influenza ("cold") infection. The flu greatly weakens the immune system and can cause life-threatening complications. Every year, in Switzerland every year, up to 1500 people die due to illness and consequence.

Although the vaccine does not provide 100% protection against infection, it is the best medicine for influenza. The vaccine is most effective if you take it before the onset of the flu episode – preferably from mid-October to mid-November. It is recommended for those who want to protect themselves and do not want to infect others. If you belong to a risk group (see point 5), vaccination is urgently needed.

How effective is the flu?

The vaccine can not provide absolute protection because flu viruses mutate in such a way that the immune system can not always be reliably detected and struggling with it. The effectiveness also depends on which viruses circulate and whether they are covered by the vaccine. Coverage varies from year to year, but often exceeds 90 percent.

In addition, other factors, such as the age of the vaccine, affect effectiveness – it is lower in the elderly. Therefore, the effectiveness of the vaccine for a particular season can not be accurately determined – according to the Federal Public Health Office (FOPH), health is reduced
younger adults have a risk of disease for 70-90 percent, in the elderly around
30-50 percent.

However, in the case of a disease, despite the vaccine, symptoms are common
weakened. In addition, serious complications occur less often.

Can the vaccine have side effects?

Yes. About one-third of the vaccinated people appear red and slight swelling or pain at the injection site. In a couple of hours they go for two days and do not require treatment.

Rash rash, edema, allergic asthma, or – usually with an existing allergy – are rarely associated with a severe allergic reaction. If you have serious side effects, talk to your doctor.

Very rarely occurs Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) – in approximately one million per million vaccinated. However, GBS appears much more often than the complications of influenza infection. The vaccine thus protects more from GBS than is triggered. In any case, the risk that the flu causes serious complications is much greater than the risk of serious adverse reactions to the vaccine.

Flu vaccines. Image: KEYSTONE

Can the vaccine trigger the flu?

No, this is not possible. A vaccine that stimulates the immune system for producing specific antibodies consists of fragments of inactivated viruses from various strains of the influenza virus. You can not cause flu.

Why have vaccine people sometimes had flu-like symptoms?

Five reasons may be:

Insufficient coverage: If the vaccine does not fully cover surgical viral strains, it only provides partial protection.

Low protection: Most often, in the case of elderly or immunocompromised subjects, only the immune system of the weak body appears after vaccination and only partially protects them. However, if they get flu, the symptoms are less and less likely to cause complications.

Vaccination Time: It takes about two weeks to develop the body's immune system. You can infect yourself during this time.

Adverse reactions to vaccination: Five to ten percent of the vaccinated can respond with fever, muscle pain, or slight weakness. These symptoms are usually harmless and disappear after a short time.

cold: It is often a harmless flu because of the symptoms, because of the flu. However, colds rarely cause complications.

Influenza is not a harmless disease. Image: KEYSTONE

Who should be vaccinated?

Those belonging to a risk group should be vaccinated. This concerns:

  • People over 60 years old
  • Pregnant women from the second trimester (then the child is also protected during the first months of life)
  • Early infants of six months in the first two seasons of influenza
  • chronically ill
  • overweight with BMI over 40 years
  • medical staff and carers because they have an increased risk of infection. They also have a higher risk of infections of patients.
  • Residents of retired and nursing homes

Should I be vaccinated, although not belonging to any risk group?

If you come in contact with people at home or at work who have a greater risk of complications, they should be vaccinated. How to prevent the infection of such vulnerable people.

In healthy children and healthy young adults, seasonal flu usually occurs without complications. Her symptoms are unpleasant. In addition, vaccination in autumn, for example during winter vacations, can prevent flu.

When should not you be vaccinated?

Those who have had a severe allergic reaction to any vaccine in an earlier influenza-related operation should not be vaccinated. This also applies to people who are very allergic to egg white.

If you have high fever, wait until the vaccine is dry. Otherwise, the protection of the vaccine could be reduced.

On the contrary, during pregnancy and breast-feeding, influenza vaccine can be made without hesitation. It is advisable to protect your mother and newborns against influenza.

Health and nutrition

So you're coughing and sneezing right:

Video: watson / Emily Engkent, Angelina Graf

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