In the early spring of 1918, the first cases of influenza appeared in Kansas. Later that spring, large amounts of cases were reported in Europe. The virus turned much more deadly by late summer, spreading waves of infection through towns, nations, and continents. An estimated 40 million lives were lost during the year-long virulency of the Spanish Flu. Over a century later, modern medicine continues to help us discover the value of vaccines this and every cold and flu season.
The Science Behind Your Yearly Flu Vaccine
The flu is a condition that can potentially be serious and lead to hospitalization and sometimes death. Every flu season is different, and the virus affects people differently. There are four types of flu viruses: influenza A, B, C, and D. Each type consists of different strains and subtypes. Flu viruses are constantly changing, making them difficult to predict. As a result, the vaccine composition is reviewed each year and updated as needed based on:
This data is compiled from more than 144 national influenza centers in over 114 countries that conduct year-round surveillance for influenza. Using this research data, the annual flu vaccine is designed to protect against the indicated viruses that are most likely to spread and cause illness among people.
Hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized every year, and tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against the flu. It is recommended for everyone 6 months or older, including pregnant women, older adults, and immunocompromised individuals. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits, including reducing the risk of:
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that causes similar symptoms to the flu. While the flu vaccine cannot protect against COVID-19, you can get sick with both illnesses simultaneously. Getting vaccinated against both protects you from severe symptoms and keeps your loved ones safer.
Rainier Clinical Research Center is looking for individuals to join COVID-19 vaccine studies enrolling soon. We are gathering some initial information from those interested in participating so we can reach back out once the study begins. To learn more, call us toll-free at 888-478-8343, or fill out our request form online today!
Learn more about RSV in our new blog and the danger to infants and older individuals.