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Stopping the “Tricky” Influenza Virus With a Flu Shot

 

Flu shots are widely considered the most simple and cost-effective protection against the influenza virus. Avoiding the virus by isolating yourself from individuals who have the flu is rarely possible and realistic because, during the typical flu season, the virus can be found virtually anywhere, and the contamination path is through airborne particles called aerosols. The is no reason to be anxious, though, because our experienced physicians at Front Range Primary Care, serving the community of Denver, can administer a flu shot to ensure that you emerge on the winning side during seasonal encounters with the influenza virus. A flu shot, also known as the influenza vaccine, has very few and rare side effects, most of which are mild and temporary, such as a sore throat or nasal congestion that typically diminish and disappear in a matter of days. The influenza vaccine is able to prevent the flu by training the white blood cells to recognize the virus and neutralize it through the production of antibodies or specialized “killer” immune cells. 

Influenza Vaccines are Modified on a Seasonal Basis 

The problem with the “tricky” influenza virus is that it has many strains or subspecies, which means that the proteins that cover the virus may be different. These proteins are markers for various strains of influenza viruses and they are represented by the letters H and N. Examples of influenza virus subspecies may be H1N1, H3N2 and so on, with multiple possible combinations. A seasonal flu shot is elaborated by medical experts to include the inactivated virus subtypes that are predicted to be dominant in a particular year, which means that a flu shot that was relevant three years ago may not offer optimal protection in the current year. The job of medical and pharmaceutical experts is to collect data about mutations and variations of the influenza virus and elaborate a vaccine that would protect individuals from specific virus strains that are found in the environment in a given season. Because a flu shot is not expensive and is not associated with any discomfort, there is no reason to ignore this cost-effective protection offered by our medical team at the Front Range Primary Care medical facilities. 

Flu Shots Contain Inactivated Influenza Virus Subspecies 

Medical researchers have worked hard to make flu shots as safe as possible, which is why they contain a combination of inactivated influenza subspecies. The mechanism of action of the influenza vaccine consists in the presentation of the inactive virus to the immune system, which analyzes the “intruder” and elaborates a specific immune response that can be activated during the next encounter with the virus. The inactivated status of the influenza virus in the flu shot makes it impossible to develop a typical flu, but minor, transient symptoms, such as a runny nose or a sore throat, may be possible. These are minor side effects that are exhibited by a minority of individuals who receive the flu shot, and they are a sign of adaptation to the administered vaccine. Don’t hesitate to contact our experienced medical teams and find out more useful information about flu prevention and various available vaccinations. 

 

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