Flu Shot Advised Before Schools Reopen

Flu Shot Advised Before Schools ReopenFlu Shot Advised Before Schools Reopen

The flu vaccine is now available in pharmacies across the country. The best time to get a flu shot is late September and timely distribution of the vaccine will enable school students to take the vaccine before the new academic year starts (September 23).

The flu vaccine protects against common seasonal influenza viruses.

Those suffering from lung and heart diseases, diabetes, cancer and immune deficiency illnesses, as well as patients taking corticosteroids or immunosuppressants are recommended to take the vaccine. People above 65 years and pregnant women are also at risk of contracting the flu and should be vaccinated, said Dr. Davood Yadegari, head of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Research Center at Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences.  

The flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. Antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

Yadegari said the flu shot should be taken before the reopening of schools and start of the cold season, Mehr News Agency reported.

He stressed the importance of vaccination for children taking aspirin for long-term, infants older than 6 months, employees in both public and private healthcare as well as people caring for the elderly.

 New Strains

The World Health Organization (WHO) collects flu virus samples from different countries including Iran, to develop vaccines against new influenza strains every year in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies as well as the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS).

Currently, 141 national influenza centers in 111 countries conduct year-round surveillance for influenza and study disease trends. The laboratories also send influenza viruses to the five WHO Collaborating Centers for Reference and Research on Influenza. Hence, it is crucial that all people are vaccinated against new flu strains; changes in the genes of the virus strains carry subsequent risks that make the vaccination vital each year, Yadegari added.

Flu infections not only develop complications such as respiratory infections, but also exacerbate disease in patients with pulmonary and heart illnesses. The virus infects the respiratory tract and also nose, ears, throat and lungs. The most common flu symptoms include high fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, fatigue, headache and cough.

The best way to prevent potential complications of influenza is to take the flu shot annually, he added.