Health Care

Can You Get a Flu Vaccine While on Antibiotics?

A Woman Smiles After Receiving Her Flu Shot

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Worldwide, there are close to one billion cases of seasonal influenza, also called the flu, every year. Although most cases are mild, people who are older or have weakened immune systems can be at risk of severe illness.

One of the best ways to prevent getting the flu is to get the vaccine each year. But can you get a flu vaccine while on antibiotics or other medications? Here’s what you need to know about getting the flu vaccine.

Can You Get a Flu Vaccine While on Antibiotics?

In most cases, you can receive a flu vaccine if you’re taking antibiotics. The flu vaccine and antibiotics work differently in the body and serve diverse purposes, so you don’t have to worry about these drugs interacting with one another.

It’s always a good idea to confirm with your doctor whether any medicines you’re taking will interact with vaccines.

Can You Get a Flu Vaccine While Taking Other Medications?

Whether you can get a flu vaccine while taking other medications depends on the type of medications you’re taking. For example, you shouldn’t get the flu vaccine if you’re taking antivirals, which treat infections that viruses cause. These drugs lower your immune response enough that the flu vaccine may not be as effective as it needs to be.

Additionally, certain autoimmune medications — like biologic drugs or methotrexate — can reduce your immune system’s response, potentially decreasing the effectiveness of the vaccine. You also want to ask your doctor about getting the vaccine if you’re on pain medications like NSAIDs.

What Is a Flu Vaccine?

Flu vaccines, also called flu shots, protect you against the four types of influenza viruses. A variety of flu shots are available, but they’re all made with an inactive flu virus or with proteins from a flu virus.

Your immune system learns to recognize the antigen, or protein, that lives on the surface of the virus and build antibodies that can begin fighting at the moment that the virus enters your body.

The flu vaccine’s effects decrease over time, but it protects you for at least six months. Everyone older than six months of age should generally receive one flu shot every year.

What Are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are medications that fight bacterial infections. They accomplish this by making it difficult for the bacteria to multiply or by outright killing them. Antibiotics are available orally, intravenously, and topically.

Not all bacterial infections require treatment with an antibiotic, but keep in mind that antibiotics don’t work on viruses. This means that they wouldn’t be helpful if you have bronchitis, a regular cold, or the flu.

Benefits of Getting a Flu Vaccine

It can feel like a hassle to go out and get a flu vaccine. The effort, however, is well worth the benefits the vaccine offers.

Lowers Risk of Getting the Flu

A lower risk of getting the flu is perhaps the most obvious benefit that the flu vaccine provides. Because the shot essentially trains your body to quickly recognize the influenza virus, it creates a wall of defense built out of antibodies that fight off the illness before it can cause harm.

You don’t get the flu from the shot, and you don’t have to worry about side effects. Many people experience serious symptoms if they get the flu, with those who have other health conditions like chronic illnesses being more at risk.

By getting the shot every year, you can keep yourself from experiencing a bout of influenza that might send you to the hospital. And if you don’t get the flu, you won’t spread it to others, either.

Many people don’t begin to experience flu symptoms until they’ve had the virus in their system for a couple of days, which means you can infect others without realizing it. By preventing such a situation, you’re also helping those around you.

Reduces Sick Days

Even if you still get sick despite having the vaccine, you can expect your symptoms to be milder. You’ll be able to start feeling better much sooner than if you didn’t have the vaccine’s protection. It can be helpful as well if you’re already hospitalized, reducing the chances of getting severe flu symptoms that lengthen your stay.

Promotes Herd Immunity

Herd immunity happens when a big portion of a community gains immunity to an illness. With herd immunity, it’s unlikely that the disease will spread from person to person anymore, which benefits everyone in the community — not just those who have immunity to the disease.

Herd immunity is important because many people can’t get the vaccine, so they depend on their community to protect them via herd immunity. When you get the flu vaccine every year, you’re helping to accomplish herd immunity.

Get Your Flu Vaccine With Centra Care Today

At Centra Care, we provide flu testing and flu vaccination services to keep you and your loved ones healthy. With over 40 years of experience providing quality urgent care throughout Florida and beyond, our professionals aim to serve your family when you need us most.

Schedule your appointment at Centra Care today.

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