The makers of the annual flu shots or vaccinations play the odds. Using the latest information and technology, scientist that specialize in disease control attempt to determine which of these nasty viruses is most likely to strike the world. There are not guarantees with the vaccine. However, scientists have an excellent track record in forecasting what type of flu will hit the hardest.
The flu shot is a result of the work of a biologic construction crew. The work starts once the correct flu viruses are isolated. According the Centers for Disease Control, the vaccine consists of a strain of flu from each of the three major varieties, A (H3N2), A (H1N1),and B. Since a virus is small enough the hundreds if not thousands could fit on the head of a pin, isolating the right virus is not an easy task.
Once the correct viruses are determined, millions of chicken eggs are acquired to use as disease incubators. The egg is injected with a type of the flu. The virus is able to multiply within the egg. By this method, billions of viruses are created. Once the incubation period has ended, the viruses are extracted and chemically inactivated. Basically, they are dead.
A cocktail is then made from the three types of viruses that contains enough of each type of virus to inoculate a human being. There has to be enough of each type of flu virus to make a body believe it has been infected with the flu. Unless you have an allergy to eggs, you should not be harmed by the flu shot. Your body will immediately go into action to destroy the perceived invaders.
As your body ramps up its reaction to the disease, you may experience a few minor symptoms. When your body fights disease, it always ups the body temperature. This may result in a mild fever. As the battle wages in the blood stream and lymph system, minor muscle ache could happen. Any symptoms will be short lived and mild in most people. In fact, most people do not experience any side effects from the shot. The people who do get symptoms tend to whine about it and give the shot a bad name.
Your immune system’s response to the virus will build antibodies and store the pattern in case more are needed quickly. Antibodies are the hunters of your immune system. They track down known invaders, isolated them, and deliver them to the true killers in your blood, your white blood cells. The white blood cells favorite way to get rid of these incapacitated intruders is to digest them and let the kidneys remove the remnants from your body.
Because the flu can mutate so rapidly, your resistance to the flu only lasts for 3 or 4 months. You have to get the flu shot in November or early December to get the maximum benefit from it. If an early wave of the flu hits, you may get the vaccine too late. If the virus comes too late, you may no longer be immune. You need to get the new version of the vaccine every year.