Tissues, dry lips, a sore nose, always needing nasal spray…Could a flu vaccine really prevent all of this? The flu vaccine is not for everyone. But it can be a good option if you suffer from respiratory diseases or have a weaker immune system. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about the flu vaccine to help you decide if it is a viable option for you.

What does the flu vaccine do?

The flu vaccine helps your immune system fight the virus by helping it to produce antibodies.

What are antibodies?

Antibodies are your immune system’s soldiers as they battle the virus when you’re infected.

How long does it take?

The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to kick in once taken. After thatt, your body can attack the flu virus, should you come into contact with it.

Do I need one every year?

Like all viruses, the flu adapts and changes rapidly every year. There are often changes in the genetic material of the influenza viruses A and B, new virus strains emerge each year. This means that last year’s flu shot won’t protect you from this year’s viruses.

What else can it do?

The flu vaccine can also lower your risk of landing up in hospital and developing complications such as pneumonia.

Are there side effects?

You may experience a few minor effects, like body aches, a slight fever and drowsiness.

Does it work?

Yes, it may be the best defence against the flu. The flu vaccine alone can’t guarantee that you’ll have a flu-free year.