Common questions about the flu
Can I get the flu from the flu vaccine?
No. The vaccine uses a version of the virus that has been killed. It mimics an infection and triggers the body to produce anti-bodies to the flu, but does not cause the infection.
Does the flu vaccine use an adjuvant? What is an adjuvant?
The flu vaccine this year does not use an adjuvant. An adjuvant is added to a vaccine to stimulate a more vigorous immune response. Adjuvants are included in common vaccines such as tetanus and hepatitis B, and were used in one of the 2009 H1N1 vaccines.
What's the difference between the flu and the common cold?
Symptoms for a cold typically are a runny nose and sneezing. Typically colds don't result in a lot of coughing or in a fever. Flu symptoms include a sore throat (usually the first symptom), fever, muscle aches and coughing. Usually the flu doesn't involve a lot of congestion.
Why do people need to keep getting the flu shot?
There are two types of influenza viruses that cause outbreaks each year: Influenza A and B. It is necessary to be immunized each fall to make sure your body forms antibodies against the most common strains of flu viruses circulating that year. Because the flu viruses are capable of changing from year to year, the vaccine is updated annually. Each year, the World Health Organization identifies three strains of the influenza virus that are predicted to be the most common and will have the most impact. Influenza vaccines are based on these three viruses.
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Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.
Read the September / October 2010 issue of Wave