What Type of Injection is a Flu Shot?

flu-shot

How Do Flu Injections Work?

The flu shot, or flu vaccine, can be administered nasally, but is primarily injected. At a basic level, the shot is what’s called an “IM” or “IntraMuscular” injection. An alcohol swab sterilizes your skin, and the needle goes through into your muscle tissue. Injected this way, the inactivated vaccine can more directly encounter your immune system, which facilitates an immune system response. When you get right down to it, a flu shot basically allows your body to “learn” what is necessary to ward off seasonal variations of the influenza virus. It is a principle similar to taking honey sourced locally to help ward off allergic reaction. Allergies happen because your immune system is too reactive. It sees foreign objects like pollen, animal dander, and other allergens as potentially toxic, and so initiates a response to keep your body safe. When you take local honey, it allows your body to get used to inert portions of local allergens so that it’s used to them, and doesn’t have such a violent reaction when such allergens are encountered “naturally”. When it comes to vaccines containing inert antigens, or at the very least damaged/weakened antigens, it’s basically the same principle. The body gets a chance to deal with viral components that aren’t likely to cause full-blown influenza symptoms. To that end, there are multiple flu shots available; such as:
  • Quadrivalent
  • Trivalent

Flu Types Further Explored

A quadrivalent flu vaccine injects multiple antigens into the body, four to be exact. A trivalent vaccine injects three separate antigens. This is because there are more than one kind of influenza virus out there, such as:
  • Influenza Type A
  • Influenza Type B
  • Influenza Type C
Now there are multiple variations in each of these categories. For example, the H1N1 virus, or “Swine Flu”, is Influenza A. The “bird flu” is also influenza type A. A trivalent flu shot may incorporate combinations of type “A”, “B”, and “C” influenza, as well as sub-strains which are seen to be trending. What that means is that you’ll have multiple inert antigens directly injected into your body, and as a result–like when you have an allergic reaction–you will likely experience an immune system response.

When To Get The Flu Vaccine

There are quite a few misconceptions when it comes to flu shots. People think if they get one, they won’t get sick. People are also confused when it seems as though they’ve become sick from the flu shot. Well, these misunderstandings make sense when you get down to the details. See, the influenza vaccine doesn’t provide your body with immunity from flu, it gives your body more information when it comes to encountering the same virus in the “real world”, as it were. Basically it’s the difference between having football pads on, and playing the game without them. If you do take a hit, it won’t be as damaging–but it’s still going to knock you down. Since an inert, or weakened, antigen is required in a vaccine to be effective, your body will feel sick after you’ve had an inoculation like the flu vaccine. Usually it won’t be a feeling of illness that lasts as long, or is as debilitating, because your body is only fighting off an inert or weakened antigen. That said, when you do decide to take a flu shot, you should be in a prime state of health. If you’re already sick, getting a vaccine could stress your immune system unnecessarily, and facilitate more severe infirmity. If you’re going the trivalent or quadrivalent route, you should definitely be in your best health beforehand.
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