What you should know about the flu shot
Many people are currently thinking about a flu shot. As a rule, doctors recommend this protective measure as early as autumn, since the immunization takes two weeks to become effective. The flu wave usually only occurs around the turn of the year, so that there is still enough time to build up vaccination protection. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether a flu shot is useful. Because vaccination can also have side effects.
Certain groups of people are advised to be vaccinated against flu The basic vaccination committee (Stiko) at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) advises all people over the age of 60, pregnant women, the chronically ill and residents of old people's homes or nursing homes to be vaccinated against flu. With these groups of people, a severe course of the disease is not uncommon, explains Professor Elisabeth Pott from the Federal Center for Health Education (BzgA) to the news agency "dpa". In addition, the Stiko advises people to get a flu shot who work in nursing or who often come into contact with people at high risk of infection.
Ideally, doctors advise these groups of people to be vaccinated in the autumn, as the risk of contracting the real flu is still very low at this point. Pott answers unequivocally whether a flu shot is still useful: “Yes, it is definitely worth it. You should preferably get vaccinated in October and November, but it always makes sense to get vaccinated before the flu begins. "Seasonal flu usually begins around the turn of the year and reaches its peak in February." It takes about after the vaccination 14 days until full protection is in place, "reports Pott. "It is therefore recommended not to wait until the flu is there." Otherwise, you risk having already caught the flu.
According to the expert, a live vaccine in the form of a nasal spray has been approved for children and adolescents between the ages of two and 17 since the last flu season. According to Stiko, this is particularly useful for children between the ages of two and six, since it works better than the dead vaccine.
Undesirable side effects and risks of the flu vaccination "In principle, the vaccination is well tolerated," explains Pott. "Serious side effects are very rare." But there would occasionally be redness around the puncture site. In addition, symptoms such as tiredness, mild muscle pain and chills may appear in the case of freshly vaccinated.
Opponents of the flu shot point out other side effects of the flu shot. Since the vaccines also contain preservatives based on formaldehyde and mercury compounds in addition to the active ingredients, severe allergies and intolerances can occur. The risk of infection can also be reduced by simple hygienic measures, argue many representatives of naturopathic treatments. Regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing in the crook of the arm or in a disposable handkerchief are effective measures to protect yourself from infections.
As another argument, vaccination critics cite the not 100 percent protection of the flu vaccine. Since the flu virus is subject to constant mutations, flu can never be completely ruled out by seasonal vaccination, because it can only protect against the current virus type. A flu shot also only protects against the flu virus. Pott also confirms this: "This makes you less susceptible to infections." (Ag)