Accurately Diagnosing the Flu

You might get your flu vaccine like clockwork each year. You no doubt understand the value of a flu shot, and by acquiring a shot, you protect yourself from the virus and possible complications. But even if you never miss a flu shot, you may develop symptoms characteristic of the flu.

Some people mistakenly believe that the flu vaccine offers 100% protection. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Not to say that the shot isn’t effective. In fact, the vaccine is up to 90% effective. Chances of infection after vaccination are higher in people with weak immune systems. In this case, a high-dose flu shot is necessary.

But even if you develop flu symptoms after a vaccination, the flu might not be the culprit. Other conditions, such as hepatitis, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection, can mimic the flu. For this reason, it pays to visit your doctor if you experience flu symptoms after being administered a flu vaccine.

Some doctors can distinguish between the flu and other illnesses by examining symptoms and conducting a physical examination. But when the cause isn’t clear, a doctor may use flu test kits. This is when a doctor swabs the back of the throat, and then tests samples for the flu virus. These tests are relatively quick and results are available within minutes.

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