This year has seen a major rise in reported flu epidemics, and around the world people are dying from what should be a passing inconvenience.
One of the biggest reasons that the influenza infection has been spreading like wildfire has to do with hesitations many people have with getting a yearly flu shot.
While groups advocating for both sides raise points such as personal choice and health concerns, the real question remains; what happens to your body when you get a flu vaccine?
The flu shot is meant to contain antibodies that introduce a 'dead' version of the disease into your immune system, apparently to help your body get used to fighting it, should you come into contact with the real thing.
But since the disease changes every year, and with placebos proving that your state of mind is just as important as medicine, is this practice really doing anything to stop the spread of infections?
One doctor who has been in the industry for years and treated hundreds of patients explains what the flu shot really does to your body.
"Vaccines like the flu shot are similar to a boot camp or a training camp of sorts for your immune system," says Dr. Finkelston.
While many people are worried about contracting the disease from the vaccine itself, Dr. Finkelston sets the record straight.
"What does happen is that 10 to 14 days after getting inoculated, your body starts to produce antibodies, and some people will feel tired, slightly achy, and may even get low-grade fevers," she says.
This may seem like symptoms of the flu, these side effects will pass quickly. However, serious reactions do mean that you should see a doctor.
If you begin developing a rash or find yourself short of breath, then contact emergency services. However, it may be best to avoid the hospital, as an exposure to germs at this point might mean you will actually get sick.
As always, the young, old, and frail should stay up to date with their yearly flu shots!