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Developing Flu Vaccines: The Science Behind It All

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is an illness caused by viruses. Flu viruses cause symptoms like fever, sore throat, cough, stuffy or runny nose, headache, body aches, chills, as well as fatigue. Although anyone can contract the flu, people with certain underlying health conditions, including asthma, diabetes, and chronic heart disease, are at higher risk for complications from the flu.

What Is the Flu Vaccine Made Of?

The flu vaccine is an annual shot designed to fight the flu. Each year, the vaccine is tailored to fight against the most commonly identified flu viruses. The vaccine’s effectiveness varies yearly, but the flu can be unpleasant and often dangerous for most people.

The virus is injected into your arm. The vaccine contains two inactivated virus strains, which are weakened versions of the actual flu virus. The inactivated viruses don’t cause the flu but are designed to stimulate your immune system so your body can fight them off. It’s also possible to get a nasal spray version of the vaccine. A nasal spray flu vaccine contains live, weakened flu virus. It’s not as effective as the injected vaccine and isn’t recommended for everyone.

The flu vaccine is made from a concoction of three strains of the virus, which stimulates your immune system to create a strong defense against the virus. The vaccine protects your body from the flu, which includes symptoms such as fever, cough, and sore throat. It may not prevent the flu altogether, but it will help your body fight off the virus if you do get it.

How Does the Flu Vaccine Work?

You may have heard that getting a flu vaccine each year is important to prevent the flu. It makes sense that flu can be dangerous or even deadly, especially to those particularly vulnerable to it, such as the elderly and children. The flu vaccine is designed to protect your body against the flu by injecting a small amount of an inactivated flu virus. Your body then responds to the vaccine by creating antibodies that fight the flu virus if it ever enters your body.

The flu vaccine is intended to prevent the flu. It works by injecting or inhaling a protein (called an antigen) into the body, prompting the immune system to make antibodies to fight the flu. These antibodies protect your body by attaching to the virus and preventing it from infecting healthy cells.

How Effective Is the Flu Vaccine?

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious virus spread through an infected person’s respiration. The flu is most common in the winter and can cause fever, severe headache, body aches, vomiting, and nausea. Each year the flu causes millions of deaths worldwide—and though modern society has greatly improved our protection against disease, the flu remains a threat. The flu is spread by coughing, which makes it highly contagious. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself against infection since it lowers the chance of you contracting the flu and lessens the severity of the disease if you do get it. The vaccine is most effective for those aged 6 months and older.

Are There Any Alternatives to the Flu Vaccine?

As cold and flu season progresses, many people are asking: are there any alternatives to the flu vaccine? Although some claim that the flu vaccine is unsafe, there are also plenty of people who believe that it is a better option than missing your yearly flu shot since the flu can be dangerous for everyone, even healthy people. However, there are alternatives to the flu vaccine when it comes to protecting yourself from the flu. If you’re concerned about getting the flu, you can take steps to lower your risk of getting the virus.

Who Should Get Flu Vaccinated?

While most people realize the importance of getting an influenza (flu) vaccination yearly, some may question whether it’s necessary to get a flu shot every year. In contrast, others may wonder if their physician or local clinic will provide the vaccine. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated yearly, especially seniors, pregnant women, those with chronic health conditions, those with a weakened immune system, and caregivers.

Every year, the flu claims thousands of lives. Flu shots are our best defense against getting the flu in the first place, but it takes a lot of work and time to develop a flu vaccine. Hence, you shouldn’t be questioning the hard work of healthcare workers and medical scientists.

Vaccines are one of the best tools we have to prevent the spread of disease. Researchers identify and test potential vaccines by exposing different virus strains to antibodies in test subjects and analyzing how the body responds. Other vaccines are made with different strains of the virus, tested in different groups of people, and administered in different ways. This is how researchers can determine which vaccines will work best in different situations.

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