Updated: Nov 23
Fortunately, you cannot catch it from them.
Just like humans, animals can also catch the flu – they may have similar symptoms, too, such as sneezing or coughing. However, because cold and flu viruses are generally species-specific, you cannot catch it from them – and you cannot pass your strain on to them.
“The common cold virus that affects humans is specific to humans. And different animal species have different strains of influenza virus that affect them. A pet's coat could transiently harbor organisms that cause disease, but this is probably not very important. So don’t worry if your pet sneezes,” said Dr John Swartzberg, infectious disease specialist and the chair of the Editorial Board of the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Time reports that the flu vaccine only reduces the risk of illness by between 40 and 60% during flu season.
According to an article on CNN, how effectively it will protect you depends on how old you are, how healthy you are and how well the “match” of the vaccine is to the strain that is doing the rounds.
Dr Bill Schaffner, chairman of the preventative medicine department at Vanderbilt University, told CNN that the vaccine usually works best for young, healthy people. But, if you do get the flu, the vaccine can offer you some protection against the more dangerous complications, such as pneumonia.
Don’t forget, too, that the vaccine doesn't offer immediate protection – it takes your body about two weeks to develop antibodies that will protect you from the virus.
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