Microbiology Flu Vaccine
Case History #2
- What should your answer to Heather's question be? Explain in detail how you came to this conclusion.
Getting a flu shot is not going to give you the flu. The vaccine for the flu shot is made from a virus that is not functioning, their killed so the flu can't possibly be passed on to you if the virus is already dead. The chances of you getting the flu are very slim and rare. The majority of the people who get flu shot did not experienced any side effects. There are some minor side effects that may occur such as redness by the injection site, a slight fever and some body aches. A severe allergic reaction can occur for people who are allergic to eggs and shouldn't get a flu shot due to some other health reasons.
- Heather says that because she had a flu shot last year, she is going to skip it this year. What is your response to Heather and explain in detail how you came to this conclusion.
If you are going to get a flu shot you have to get it annually. The flu shot you got last year will not prevent you from getting the flu this year. The flu shot you got last year helped you develop antibodies for that certain type of flu virus that was going around. That antibody is not going to defend you from the other types of flu that are going around this year. The vaccine for the flu changes every year. Each year a new vaccine is studied to help fight the virus type that was being spread that year.
- What is different about the vaccine from year to year? Who decides what form it will take every year?
Year to year the leading virus strain changes which is why flu shots are given annually. The influenza virus mutates so rapidly that one year they can provide the vaccine to prevent the flu and by the next flu season the vaccine that was used last season is useless.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee meets every year to consider which strain of the flu virus is the most widespread during the upcoming flu season. The manufacturers will than create vaccines base on those references.
- Susan wants to know why we don't have to get other vaccines annually. Explain why?
The main reason why the flu shot is given annually is because the virus mutates rapidly. If a virus doesn't mutate or the mutation rate is low a vaccine isn't needed every year. The change in antigens is what causes the virus to mutate. Some mutate and develop faster than others; the ones that have rapid mutations are the ones that are harder to manage hence the flu virus and HIV. Viruses with low mutations are easier to control and can almost be eliminated from the vaccine such as polio and the smallpox virus.
- What groups of people are recommended to get the flu vaccine? Are there people that shouldn't be vaccinated?
Groups of people that are recommended to get a flu vaccine are:
- Children between the ages of 6months to 4 years
- If you are pregnant
- Adults ages 60 and older
- Adults and children who have lung, heart, or and other chronic medical condition
- Residents of nursing homes and care facilities
- People infected with the HIV/AIDS virus
- People with anemia, asthma, diabetes, and kidney problems
- All health care workers who work with and have direct contact with the patients
- Home care workers who work with patients that have a weak immune systems
Groups that shouldn't be vaccinated:
- People who have an allergy to eggs
- Anyone who may have had a severe reaction from the flu shot before
- Children under the age of 6 months
- Someone who already has an illness and a fever should wait until some of their condition improves before they get vaccinated.
- What are the differences in the signs and symptoms between a cold and the flu?
Comparing the symptoms of cold to symptoms of the flu:
For a cold fever, headaches, aches, and pains, including chest pains are minor to uncommon. Sneezing, stuffy noses, sore throat with a hacking cough are more common symptoms for a cold. With the flu however, a fever is a common symptom and is usually high (100-102 F) and last for a few days. Headaches and other body aches including chest pain are more serious. Sneezing, stuffy noses, and a sore throat are not indicators for the flu. The cough for someone with the flu is very dry and can become severe. If you have the flu and it is not treated, other medical problems can occur such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and even death.
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