Does the Flu have Different Variants?

Having the flu can put a damper on your days. Spending a week on the couch getting over your aches and other symptoms is not ideal for anyone. In an effort to prevent a week like this, you may have gotten the flu shot. If you heard a rumor that the flu shot fails to stop a particular variant, it is crucial to understand precisely what types of flu exist and the effectiveness of the shot.

AFC Urgent Care Waltham can provide testing and flu shots to all patients this flu season. It can be easy to confuse flu symptoms with COVID symptoms, so it’s important to get tested as soon as symptoms begin.

Different Flu Types

Four different types of flu exist, identified from A to D. Influenza A is the most common variant that most people get seasonally. Influenza A is constantly mutating, which makes it challenging to plan for. The next flu type is B, which is less common but changes at a slower rate. Influenza C can be mistaken for a cold, as it mainly impacts the respiratory system. Finally, D, a variant that does not typically affect humans but cows. 

Flu Shot Effectiveness

With so many variants of the flu, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine has come into question. The shot can protect you from different strains and variants, but not all. The flu shot does not prevent influenza C. However, multiple strains of influenza A and B are covered. Despite this, it is possible to get the flu even if you have been vaccinated.

Imagine the vaccine as a shield designed to protect you. It can protect your front or your back, but not both. The flu shot offers protection from some flu variants and strains but is not considered blanket protection. Studies show that the shot is as much as 60% effective.

Vaccine Benefits

Depending on your outlook, 60% could be good or bad. Considering that the effectiveness is up to 60% could introduce some doubts. Nonetheless, there are a few benefits beyond partial protection. Researchers indicate that those who get the flu shot and still get the flu experience mild symptoms when compared to those without flu shots.

While the idea is to prevent the flu, getting over your illness quicker is always the next best option. The flu shot also averts the spread of influenza. When it comes to at-risk individuals, such as the elderly, babies, or pregnant women, obtaining a flu vaccine is the best choice. Your own health and the health of others can be improved upon with a flu vaccine.