Having the flu vaccination provides you with invaluable protection against contracting the virus. And, if you are wondering how long does the flu shot last, the short answer is that the vaccination has a limited lifespan but lasts for long enough if you have it done for the peak of the flu season. Let’s take a closer look at how you can protect yourself and your family.
Why Should You Have The Flu Shot?
The flu shot is recommended for everyone over the age of six months, to protect you against flu viruses. It is recommended that you have the flu vaccination every year, even if you had it the previous year, because the virus mutates. In 2020-21 it’s even more important to stay protected, in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, because of the potential complications that can arise if you were to develop the flu and reduce your immunity.
Despite the prevalence of the flu vaccination 2019 was Australia’s worst flu season ever to be recorded, with a documented 313000 cases.
The flu is unpredictable so it is difficult to gauge who is at greater risk of developing it. Furthermore, it’s also difficult to predict the severity with which people will develop it. Some people can die from it, and the majority of the deaths from flu are preventable.
Having the flu shot is not just about yourself and your family – it is also to protect the people in the communities around you from flu viruses. When enough people have the vaccine you develop what is known as herd immunity, and can protect the more vulnerable members of your society who are not able to be vaccinated against the flu. The groups of people who can’t be vaccinated include elderly people, babies younger than six months of age and people who have suppressed immunity.
When Is The Most Effective Time To Have The Flu Shot?
Studies show that the best time to have your flu vaccination is three to four months after it is administered. This is when the flu vaccination is most effective in your body – so this needs to be taken into account in light of the peak of flu season in order to get the timing of your vaccine right. Generally the flu season in Australia spans June through September, with its peak in August so factoring in a vaccination in late April or early May would probably be the best timing for the majority of the population.
It’s also worth noting that even though the flu does have a seasonal peak, it is possible to contract it at any time of the year. The flu vaccination provides you with the most enduring protection and can reduce the severity of your symptoms if you do develop the virus.
When Does The Flu Vaccine Start To Work?
The flu shot gets to work in your body about two weeks after you have been given the vaccine. This is when your body starts to produce the antibodies required to fight the virus.
Remember that you are still susceptible to developing the flu during this period and you should still practice good hygiene in the interim period.
Good hygiene practices that may protect you against contracting the flu include:
- Avoid touching your mouth and nose unnecessarily
- Use hand steriliser
- Avoid big crowds and practice social distancing when you do need to congregate with groups of people
How Long Does The Flu Shot Last?
Your immunity to the flu decreases with the passage of time – so the longer the time since your flu vaccination, the less protected you can expect to be. Remember also that the virus mutates throughout the season so if you did have a vaccination early on in the flu season it is quite possible that it may not protect you against every strain – this is why good hygiene practices are important throughout the flu season.
The flu shot that is developed is created to protect you against the flu viruses that are in circulation for that season. Typically the vaccination protects people from influenza A and B flu viruses. Both flu viruses infect the respiratory tract and can cause complications. While the majority of people may be booked off work for a few days and may need to spend a few days in bed recovering, others require hospitalisation and special care in order to recover.
What Are Your Chances Of Developing The Flu If You Have Been Vaccinated?
The flu vaccination protects around five to six adults out of every ten from flu viruses. It also makes you more likely to have a milder version of the flu in the event that you develop it. So while there is no guarantee that you won’t get it, statistically it is a good idea and you will have added protection against flu viruses if you are vaccinated.
If you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine or if you have already contracted the flu, you would not need to be vaccinated.
The government has made it easy for most people to be vaccinated against the flu by making a number of free vaccines available to vulnerable groups. The shot takes a few minutes to administer and most people do not experience any side effects.
To find out more about how long does the flu shot last and how you can protect yourself and your wider community, please book an appointment with us: (02) 9159 6903.