Seems like your immune system and the flu shot would be mortal enemies—fighting to the death. But that would mean they’d both have to be alive to start with. And they’re not. The flu shot’s dead, poor thing.
Besides, it and your immune system are on the same side, working together to help you battle the flu shot’s evil twin: the live flu.
Internist Bruce Heckman explains in this week’s featured article, “Flu Shot With a Compromised Immune System: Good Idea for Most”:
When a healthy person gets sick, the body produces antibodies in the blood to help fight off the disease. The flu shot works because of this mechanism. It contains dead flu viruses that trigger the body to produce specific antibodies to combat the flu strain (or strains) going around that year. Because the shot only contains dead viruses, it doesn’t actually give you the flu.
Though we hear about people getting flu-like symptoms after the shot every year, the CDC says it’s rare for that to happen. When it does, the yuckiness doesn’t last more than a couple of days.
Do you usually get the flu shot? Why or why not?
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Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.