Flu

Flu Specialist
Getting a flu shot is a good way to protect your child from getting the flu. Dr. Nkem Nnaeto offers flu shots for patients in and around East Orange, New Jersey at Universal Pediatrics, Inc in Essex County.

Flu Q & A

by Nkem Nnaeto, MD, FAAP

What is the flu?

The flu, also called influenza, is a respiratory illness that is highly contagious. It is caused by influenza A or B viruses. The flu virus attacks the body by spreading through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract. The flu is commonly seen during the seasons of winter and early spring.

What is a flu shot?

A flu shot is a simple vaccine that protects against catching the flu. Some vaccines are able to protect against more than one flu virus strain. The traditional flu shot is injected into your arm muscle. It’s made from pieces of inactive flu viruses.

How does it work?

A flu shot prepares your body with the antibodies it needs to fight an infection caused by the flu virus when you're exposed to it. Doctors change the vaccine every season in order to introduce the strains they suspect are most likely to appear that year. It takes up to two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection. It is recommended to get vaccinated as early as possible, before the flu season really begins.

Who should get a flu shot?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends flu shots for ages 6 months and older get immunized against the flu. People who are usually at high risk of getting serious complications from the flu are especially urged to receive the flu shot as a precaution. Recommendations include:

  • People 65 or older
  • Pregnant women
  • Kids younger than age 5, but in particular those under age 2
  • People who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
  • Adults and kids with diseases of the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, or blood
  • Anyone under age 19 who gets long-term aspirin therapy

Ask your doctor about getting a flu shot if you've had an allergic reaction to a flu shot in the past or if you are currently ill to avoid complications.

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