The flu is a terrible illness that causes fever, chills, fatigue, and body aches. At Internal Medicine of Greater New Haven, located in Cheshire, Guilford, Hamden, Milford, North Haven, Meriden, Wallingford, West Haven, and Stratford, Connecticut, you have access to state-of-the-art preventive health care including your annual flu vaccine to keep you healthy all year long. You can make an appointment by calling or booking online for this important part of preventive health care.
The flu vaccine is an annual inoculation against the flu virus expected for that year. This simple injection exposes you to a small and safe amount of the virus so your body can build an immunity against it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months have an annual flu vaccine. It is highly recommended that people with a high risk of flu complications protect their health with the vaccine. High-risk groups include:
A flu vaccine decreases your risk of contracting the virus, protecting your health and the health of the people around you. Many people mistake severe colds for the flu, and while the symptoms are similar, the flu is a much more serious viral illness and is very contagious. The flu causes symptoms including:
When you have the flu, these symptoms are debilitating and can lead to hospitalization and in some cases death.
The flu is also contagious, which means that you can spread the illness to others. You are contagious for approximately the first five to seven days of your illness.
It’s best to have the flu shot early in the flu season. The flu vaccine introduces a small, controlled amount of the flu virus into your body. Over the next two weeks, your body reacts to the vaccine by producing antibodies. Then later when you’re exposed to the flu virus, your body has what it needs to fight off the disease so you don’t get sick.
The flu virus mutates very quickly and is different every year. Each year, scientists work to identify and predict the forms of the flu that are most likely to be prevalent during flu season (October to May). The vaccine is then formulated to protect you against the predicted viruses. Flu shots can include strains of several different flu viruses to give you the best possible protection against the illness.