How does the Flu Shot Work? Ask Oakville’s Pharmacist

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Richard Price

Richard Price is the pharmacist and the owner of the Medicine Shoppe in downtown Oakville for several years. He is always available to answer your pharmaceutical questions. Mr. Price lives in Oakville with his wife and sons.

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Once again another summer has rolled by and we are now waiting for winter to hit us.  It is flu shot season.

I have been asked many times in my pharmacy how does a flu shot actually work.  Our body’s immune system works on memory.  The first time that we are exposed to a new bacteria the body figures out a way to identify it, tag it as foreign, and then eliminate it from our bodies.

Our immune system remembers what that bacteria ‘looks like’ so each time that we are exposed to that same bacteria, our body knows how to attack it and remove it.  That is why a vaccination is so useful, because  it uses inactive or nearly inactive bacteria to trick our body to mount an immune response against it.

The immune system usually has no problem getting rid of that weakened bacteria;  but more importantly, the body remembers what that bacteria ‘looks like’.  The next time that your body faces that bacteria out there during our regular lives, it no longer has to figure out how to get rid of it.  The body can immediately starting getting rid of that bacteria before it can get hold of you and make you miserable for 7 to 10 days.

The seasonal influenza vaccine contains three of the most likely culprit bacterial strains.  Getting your flu shot will give your body the advanced defence capacity against those strains of bacteria, along with many others that are similar.

Like mine, many pharmacies are making it more convenient than ever to get your flu shot. This year don’t get left out of the game sick in bed, and get your flu shot now!



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