Vaccination is recommended every year before the upcoming flu wave to protect against influenza. But when is the best time?
Frankfurt – High fever, body aches and severe fatigue are some of the typical symptoms of influenza. Influenza is caused by viruses that can be transmitted from person to person via a smear or droplet infection.
Unlike a simple cold (flu-like infection), the flu is a serious illness. Influenza can pose a high risk, especially for people with a weakened immune system, previous illnesses or pregnant women. That is why the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommends annual flu vaccination for protection.
Flu vaccination: Annual dose is recommended
Since the pathogens mutate quickly, the vaccine is adapted every year to the currently circulating virus strains. The vaccines therefore only protect for the current season. In addition, the effectiveness decreases the longer the vaccination is in the past. “Therefore, all people for whom a seasonal flu vaccination is recommended should be vaccinated with the flu vaccine for the current season,” informed the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA).
But who should refresh their vaccination every year? The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommends flu vaccination for:
- people over 60 years of age
- pregnant women
- Medical staff and staff in care facilities
- People who have an increased risk of infection through contact with many people
- Persons in direct contact with poultry and wild birds
Flu: when is the best time to vaccinate?
Anyone who is allergic to components of the vaccination, such as chicken protein, should not be vaccinated. However, a chicken protein-free vaccine is also available. The BZgA pointed out that children and adolescents with immunodeficiency, severe asthma or salicylate therapy should not be given the approved live vaccine by nasal spray. In any case, you should consult a doctor beforehand.
And when is the best time to have the preparation injected? Since the annual flu wave in Germany usually begins shortly after the New Year, the RKI recommends getting vaccinated from October to mid-December . It then takes about 10 to 14 days for the body to build up sufficient protection. Anyone who has missed the vaccination during these months can catch up on the vaccination “even at the beginning or during the course of the flu epidemic”, writes the BZgA.
Flu: Why does influenza occur mainly in winter?
Why influenza mainly occurs in the winter months has not yet been scientifically researched conclusively. What is certain is that the viruses are more stable in cool temperatures and dry air. As a result, they are contagious for longer, according to the BZgA. In addition, viruses could penetrate the body more easily, since the dry air seems to dry out the mucous membranes in the nose and mouth.
Flu vaccination: These side effects can occur
Like any vaccination, the flu preparations can also cause vaccination reactions and side effects. Most reactions to the vaccine go away in a day or two. Serious side effects, on the other hand, are very rare. According to the BZgA, these side effects can occur:
- Redness or swelling at the injection site
- Muscle aches
- Stuffy or runny nose (for live vaccine via nasal spray)
- General malaise with fever, tiredness, joint, headache and muscle pain
The influenza vaccination can be given together with the corona vaccination. “The vaccination should be carried out on different limbs,” said the BZgA. However, increased vaccination reactions are possible. A study from the USA indicated that a flu infection slows down the spread of corona viruses. However, researchers have their doubts. (cheese)