When there is colder weather, your natural defenses against viruses are weakened because white blood cells, which are needed to fight invaders, travel in smaller numbers. Anything that impairs blood flow, including conditions such as atherosclerosis or diabetes, reduces your ability to fight off viruses.
In Massachusetts, the flu season is between October and May. Many people believe that it’s too late to get a shot in the late winter or spring. Below, we asked our experts — located in Brockton, Massachusetts — to explain why it’s worth getting immunized as late as February to ensure you can fight off the flu.
If you’ve had a cold or two during the last few years, you know that with rest and over-the-counter medications, your symptoms can improve within about a week. If you’re generally healthy and active, you may be tempted to skip the flu shot for that reason.
However, the flu is very different from the cold in its severity. A cold may last for a week, while the flu can last up to a month, and it affects the lungs. One complication of the flu is pneumonia, an infection of the lungs that can be deadly if not treated well or if it develops in a patient with a compromised immune system.
Since the flu season ends in May, getting the flu shot in February still offers several months of protection. Everyone benefits from the flu shot, but the following segments of the population are more likely to experience flu complications:
Flu complications are rare, but in some cases, they can prove to be life-threatening. Vaccines are the best defense against the flu. Each year, specialists make predictions of which strain of the flu is most likely to cause issues, and then they produce a vaccine that targets that specific strain.
Training your body by exposing yourself to specific strains of the influenza virus through vaccination is the best way to fight the flu. After receiving your flu shot, you may experience a few mild flu-like symptoms. This is a sign that your body is recognizing the virus in the vaccine and is learning how to fight it.
The first inactivated influenza vaccine was developed in 1945, and since then, people have been enjoying full protection against the flu. Contact us to schedule an appointment and get your shot.