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Science Now: Why Do You Need to Get a Flu Shot Each Year?

November 25, 2019

♪♪♪ Do you ever wonder why you need to get a flu shot every year? There are a few things about the flu, or influenza virus, that make it challenging to deal with in a medical sense. First of all, there isn’t just one
influenza virus. There are many different strains, and one vaccine won’t make you immune to all the different strains. One seasonal flu shot usually covers 3 or 4 different strains of influenza. To make things worse, these strains of the virus mutate, or change, over time. A new flu vaccine must be created to target the viruses expected to be
most prevalent next year. When you get the flu shot, viruses that are inactivated, or dead, are injected into you. Your body recognizes those viruses as invaders because of proteins
found on their surface. Over the next couple of weeks
after your shot, your immune system will armor itself. That way, if you do come into contact with that strain of virus, you are already equipped
to fight it off. Your immune response is directly linked to the outer portion of those
surface proteins, and that’s exactly what tends to mutate from year to year. So, you need a new shot each year. If, like most of us, you dislike shots, there may be some good news
on the horizon. There are many ongoing studies looking to develop a vaccine that targets something other than the
outer portion of surface proteins. If researchers can create a flu shot that targets a portion of the virus that does not mutate so often, then a single flu shot should last much longer and be effective against many different strains of the flu. That means we would get more
protection with fewer needle pokes. Until then, if you are over 6 months of age, then a seasonal flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and the people
around you from the flu. Have you gotten your
flu shot this year? ♪♪♪ If you liked this video, remember to like, subscribe,
and comment below And for more information on COSI, Columbus, Ohio’s Center of
Science and Industry, visit

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