In the northern hemisphere, the number of patients with influenza increases significantly from September to March, and the peak incidence is diagnosed in December-January.
The incidence of influenza and ARVI grows especially actively during the cold season. This is primarily due to a decrease in immunity and a weakening of the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract. In the northern hemisphere, the number of patients with influenza increases significantly from September to March, and the peak incidence is diagnosed in December-January.
Doctors say the best way to prevent getting the flu is to get vaccinated and fortisip. The introduction of the vaccine stimulates a specific immune response and helps the body fight “wild” viruses.
The peculiarity of the influenza virus is a very rapid mutation: new strains are constantly appearing, which force the immune system to re-learn how to fight them. The World Health Organization (WHO) annually identifies three major influenza virus strains that are most likely to emerge as major infectious agents this year, and laboratories around the world are starting to produce vaccines. Typically, by September, the month of the start of influenza vaccination in many countries, the vaccine is already available in the required quantities.
Statistics show that high-quality influenza vaccination in 80% of cases prevents the development of the disease or allows it to proceed in a milder form than in unvaccinated people.
Flu vaccination in Russia
According to the Ministry of Health reports, the number of diagnosed cases of influenza in Russia in 2017 decreased by almost half compared to the previous year: in 2016, the incidence rate was 60.5 cases per 100,000 population, in 2017 it was only 34.9 case. When compared with 1997, the incidence of diseases has decreased by almost 150 times: 5173.8 cases per 100,000 population.
Doctors attribute this primarily to the growing popularity of influenza vaccines and the inclusion of free vaccinations with the national vaccination schedule. According to Rospotrebnadzor, in 2017, 67.4 million people were vaccinated against influenza – about 46.6% of the Russian population.
Influenza incidence statistics have also been influenced by a change in counting methods: now only laboratory-confirmed cases are included. However, the effectiveness of vaccination is confirmed by the fact that the last influenza epidemic, which covered the whole country, was registered in 2016; in 2017, only local outbreaks were observed.
Pros and cons of getting the flu vaccine
The main advantage of flu shots is the prevention of the disease. The immunity of vaccinated people successfully fights the influenza virus and in 80% of cases prevents the disease or allows it to proceed in a milder form. There is no need to spend money on flu medications and time on bed rest and recovery from illness.
However, there are categories of people who are not advised to get vaccinated:
children under 6 months;
pregnant women in the 1st trimester;
people with an allergic reaction to the substances in the vaccine.
Vaccination is also not necessary for people with strong immunity who rarely come into contact with other people: they are not so likely to get sick. All other people should get the flu shot.
Group vaccination can significantly reduce the risk of an epidemic: according to medical research, if 80-85% of the collective is vaccinated, then the infection does not spread.
Types of vaccines
There are two main types of influenza vaccines used in Russia. The first consists of live but weakened viruses. It is buried in the nose or sprayed into the nasal passages. The “live” vaccine is effective on average for a year, but it has more contraindications and side effects.
The second type is based on inactivated components of viruses, which are introduced by intramuscular injection. The average duration of the effectiveness of such a vaccine is 6-8 months.
The time required for the development of the necessary immune response to the corresponding strains of the influenza virus is about two weeks: during this time, the immune system recognizes the components of the virus and produces the antibodies necessary to fight it.
Objections to vaccination
Many opponents of vaccination believe that vaccinations create unnecessary strain on the immune system. However, it must be remembered that a person is exposed to hundreds of bacteria and viruses every day, and vaccination is a way to “push” immunity to fight a specific virus.
Weak, sick people also need to be vaccinated, because a “wild” infection will create a much greater burden on their body than the controlled effect of the vaccine.
As for allergens (for example, chicken protein), then everyone can choose a vaccine that does not contain this substance.