The Seasonal Influenza Virus Vaccine

It’s flu season again. And you have a decision to make. Should you get the flu vaccine this year?

Before you get started educating yourself on the influenza vaccine (and I applaud you for doing so), you may want to read the previous two articles in this flu education series:

  • So many people are confused about what influenza really is because the word “flu” is often misused and confused for various other sicknesses going on in the body. To familiarize yourself with the true flu symptoms and to understand why you should get vaccinated, please read: What is influenza, “the flu?”
  • Understanding a little more about how the influenza virus is constructed and how it mutates is also important in grasping why we all need to get the flu shot every year. I think you’ll be interested in reading more about the virus that causes the flu and learning: Why do we keep getting the flu over and over again?

Now that you’ve become flu savvy and have decided you are ready to make the choice to look into getting the vaccine, it’s important to know all you can before deciding which vaccine may be best for you and your loved ones.



Read moreThe Seasonal Influenza Virus Vaccine

Varicella (chickenpox) Vaccine

Chickenpox
Goldie Locks has Chicken Pox

I don’t know about you, but I REMEMBER getting the chickenpox as a young child. It was itchy and awful. And oatmeal baths! Oh, the oatmeal baths!!

Because this is most often a children’s disease, I thought it would be appropriate to litter this post with the some of the cute photos from one of my daughter’s favorite children’s books: Goldie Locks has Chicken Pox by Erin Dealey, illustrated by Hanako Wakiyama. 

Although the illustrator makes chicken pox look cute, it’s anything but. Thankfully, due to the vaccine our kids don’t ever need to experience the chickenpox…

Chickenpox is caused by a virus called the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which is part of the herpesvirus family. The same virus that causes chickenpox can cause shingles later in life. The virus is called varicella when it causes chickenpox, then the virus hides in your body and it gets called zoster when it flares back up and causes shingles. There is also a vaccine for shingles called the zoster vaccine, which you may get should you choose to at around the age of 65 (but, that’s for another post).

Read moreVaricella (chickenpox) Vaccine

How are vaccines made and released to the public?


A vaccine’s main goal is to teach your immune system to recognize and remember a bacteria or virus.
The word “vaccination” means to stimulate the immune system to make antibodies against the bacteria or virus targeted by the vaccine.
“Immunization” is different; it’s used in relation to injecting a person with pre-formed antibodies to a particular disease to make the person immune to it.
These terms are often used interchangeably, and that’s just fine, however it’s important to understand that these are two very different ways of creating immunity to a disease.