Influenza

How important are vaccinations?

Basics on Influenza

The influenza virus is very contagious and is spread by talking, sneezing, or coughing which expose tiny droplets to others. It is located in the respiratory portion of the body and infects the nose, lungs, and throat. The virus lasts year round with an increased rate during the fall and winter. Symptoms include but are not limited to a runny nose, sore throat, fever, and chills. People may have an increased risk if they are obese, have a weak immune system, are of age 65 or older, and younger than 12 months. There are four different types of influenza and the most common in humans are A and B.

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Jonas Salk and Thomas Francis

Salk and Francis created the first flu vaccine using fertilized chicken eggs and dead strains of the Influenza A virus. Its first use was to protect soldiers fighting in World War II because the death toll of the virus was fairly large. The technique designed by Salk and Francis is used to produce most of vaccines for the flu today.

Importance of Vaccination

Many people are scared of receiving a vaccine because there is a strain of the virus in the injection. They fear it makes them prone to getting sick and the vaccine will be the reason of their illness. On the contrary, vaccines save many peoples lives and contains an inactive strain. It is possible to come down with the flu even after you get your flu shot but it decreases the risk of death drastically. You must also get your flu shot every year to maintain immunity. Overtime, your body will become less likely to fight of the virus but if you receive a yearly vaccine your ability to defeat the pathogen increases. Other benefits include, lower chance of children being admitted to the hospital, protection of pregnant women, and a reduction in how severe the illness can get. Not only should you get vaccinated for yourself but those around you that may not be able to. For example, children younger than 6 months can not get the flu shot and therefore they rely on those around them. Keep in mind influenza is contagious and can spread rapidly if many people are not vaccinated. If the majority of people become vaccinated it helps the whole community.

Pandemic of 1918

From 1918-19 the Influenza virus known as H1N1 infected around one-third of the world's population. Due to there being no vaccine approximately 50 million people died and everyone was forced to isolate. Deaths were more common in children and those over age 65 because their immune systems were not strong. This relates to why everyone that can needs to be vaccine for Influenza. To protect against another pandemic like the one in 1918 scientists have created a vaccine that many are neglecting. Those that do not believe in vaccinations need to look at the facts and come to realization that it is what is best for the world.