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Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine is an inactivated vaccine comprising dead virus. This vaccine is usually recommended for administration before the onset of the flu season. Seasonal flu vaccines protect against the three influenza viruses that would be common during the following season. The virus in the vaccine are subject to change each year based on international surveillance about the types and strains of viruses that would circulate in a given year. Antibodies that provide protection against the flu develop in the body after about 2 weeks on administration of the vaccine. This prevents flu from occurring in the person.

Different types of flu vaccines

Regular flu shot – for kids 6 months and older

High-dose flu shot – for people above 65 years of age

Intra dermal flu shot - for people aged between 18 and 64 years of age


The nasal-spray flu vaccine can be used on people aged between 2 and 49; however they have to be healthy to receive the vaccination in this form. It is recommended for everyone to get vaccinated before the onset of flu season. However people falling under the below mentioned categories are advised to get vaccinated against flu.

  • Children younger than 5, especially children younger than 2 years
  • Pregnant women
  • People suffering certain chronic medical conditions
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Healthcare workers

Avian Flu

Avian bird flu is an infection that is caused by bird flu viruses. While wild birds can carry these viruses in their intestines and not fall ill, domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks and turkeys can be infected and killed by this Avian flu virus. Birds contract avian flu virus when they come in contact with contaminated excretions. Infected birds shed flu virus in their nasal secretions, feces and saliva.


Most cases of human infection of Avian bird flu is through contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. The most common symptom of humans infected with Avian flu h5n1 strains is conjunctivitis of the eyes. Symptoms generally appear between two to four days following exposure. Symptoms of avian flu depend on the strain of virus that caused the infection. You can experience symptoms that characterize most flu infections such as fever, cough, sore throat and muscle ache. More severe symptoms of avian bird flu are pneumonia and severe respiratory disorders. In conditions of Avian flu epidemic, utmost care must be taken when handling and cooking poultry.


Avian influenza virus infection can be diagnosed using specimens of blood, sputum or from swabs of the nose and throat. Testing for Asian flu is done at a specialized laboratory. Drugs like Tamiflu may reduce the severity of human flu strains if taken within two days of the onset of symptoms. Standard precautions like washing hands frequently with plenty of soap and water helps to avoid the infection through contact. Avoid undercooked eggs or poultry.



Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine has to be administered every year since the vaccine is updated for newer strains of the flu virus. While adults are given the flu vaccine in one doses, children need to take 2 doses. Infants must not be given this vaccine nor anyone who is running temperature. If a person is allergic to eggs or egg products, he must not use the flu vaccine. You can get the flu vaccine from your doctor or public health center. In most cases, flu vaccines are administered around September to November, though it can be given at any time of the year.


Often people do not take the influenza vaccine believing that it is not very effective. Getting vaccinated with the flu vaccine is no guarantee against flu infection but the symptoms are usually milder. The efficacy of the vaccine is different for different individuals. It also hinges on the intensity of the flu epidemic. Since 2003, there is an option of nasal mist vaccine against influenza. But it must be used with caution and on a doctor's advice. It is likely to induce side effects that mimic flu-like symptoms. It is not recommended for young children, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 18, 2019