Influenza: 7 questions and answers about flu shots


The best prevention of flu: flu shots. Image: KEYSTONE

Hello, against the vaccine – 7 answers to this flu vaccine specifically for you

Today, November 9, is the National Influenza Day. Those who get vaccinated today benefit from the recommended fixed rate of 30 francs. Interested parties can use the offer spontaneously at one of the practices of a doctor or pharmacy participating in the campaign.

Many people don't want to get vaccinated – for different reasons. However, highly contagious influenza ("influenza") is often underestimated, because they like to confuse them with highly harmless ("cold") flu infections. The flu greatly weakens the immune system and can cause life-threatening complications. Up to 1,500 people die every year in Switzerland because of the disease and its consequences.

Although the vaccine does not provide 100% protection against infection, this is the best medicine for flu. The vaccine is most effective if taken before the onset of the flu episode – preferably between mid-October and mid-November. It is recommended for those who want to protect themselves and do not want to infect others. If you are a risk group (see point 5), vaccination is very necessary.

How effective are flu shots?

Vaccines cannot provide absolute protection because influenza viruses mutate so that the immune system cannot always detect and fight them. Efficacy also depends on the virus in circulation and whether the vaccine covers them. Coverage varies from year to year, but often exceeds 90 percent.

In addition, other factors such as vaccine age affect effectiveness – lower in older people. Therefore, the effectiveness of vaccines for a particular season cannot be quantified appropriately – according to the Federal Public Health Office (FOPH) it lowers health
Younger adults risk disease at 70-90 percent, in the elderly
30-50 percent.

However, if the disease arises even though there is a vaccine, the symptoms are frequent
weakened. In addition, severe complications are rare.

Can vaccines have side effects?

Yes. About a third of people are vaccinated, redness and slight swelling or pain occur at the injection site. They subside in a few hours to two days and do not require treatment.

Nausea, edema, allergic asthma or – usually with allergies already present – are less often associated with severe allergic reactions. If you suffer from severe side effects, you should see a doctor.

Very rarely does this come to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) – in about one case up to one million vaccinated. However, GBS occurs much more often as a result of complications of flu infection. Vaccines thus protect more than GBS rather than triggered. In any case, the risk that the flu causes serious complications is much higher than the serious side effects of the vaccine.

flu vaccine. Image: KEYSTONE

Can the vaccine trigger flu?

No, that is impossible. Vaccines, which stimulate the body's immune system to produce specific antibodies, consist of fragments of inactive viruses from various types of influenza viruses. You can't cause flu.

Why do vaccinated people sometimes have flu-like symptoms?

Five reasons can cause:

Insufficient coverage: If the vaccine does not completely cover the circulating viral strain, the vaccine only provides partial protection.

Low protection: Especially in the elderly or immunocompromised appearing after vaccination only the immune system is weak and they are then only partially protected. However, if they have the flu, the symptoms are less and less likely to cause complications.

Vaccination time: It takes about two weeks for the immune system to develop. You can now be infected.

Vaccination side effects: Five to ten percent of vaccinations can react with fever, muscle aches or a slight malaise. These symptoms are usually harmless and disappear after a short time.

cold: Often a cold that is harmless is wrong for flu because the symptoms are similar. However, colds rarely cause complications.

The flu is not a harmless disease. Image: KEYSTONE

Who should be vaccinated?

Those in the risk group must be vaccinated. This concern:

  • People over 60 years old
  • Pregnant women from the second trimester (then babies are also protected during the first months of life)
  • Premature babies start at the age of six months during the first two flu seasons
  • chronic pain
  • overweight people with a BMI above 40
  • medical staff and caregivers, because they have an increased risk of infection. They also have a greater risk of infecting patients.
  • Residents of nursing homes and nursing homes

Should I be vaccinated, even if you don't have a risk group?

If you are in contact with people at home or in a workplace who are at higher risk of complications, you should get vaccinations. How to prevent you from infecting vulnerable people.

In healthy children and healthy younger adults, seasonal flu usually runs without complications. Symptoms are uncomfortable. In addition, vaccination in the fall can prevent, for example, during winter holidays, flu.

When should NOT be vaccinated?

Those who have a severe allergic reaction to one vaccine in a previous flu shot should not be vaccinated. This also applies to people who are very allergic to egg white.

If you have a high fever, you have to wait with the vaccine to subside. If not, vaccine protection can be reduced.

Conversely, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, a flu vaccine can be made without hesitation. It is recommended to protect mothers and newborns from flu infections.

Health and nutrition

So you cough and sneeze properly:

Video: watson / Emily Engkent, Angelina Graf

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