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注射
注射

インフルエンザの予防注射のメリットと注意点

注射

毎年秋ころになるとインフルエンザの予防注射のポスターなどを見かけます。インフルエンザの予防注射は一体どのようなメカニズムで作用するのでしょうか。またインフルエンザの予防注射を受けておけばインフルエンザにはかからないものなのでしょうか。本稿ではインフルエンザの予防注射のメリットやほんのわずかに注意したい副反応についてまとめています。

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インフルエンザの予防注射のメカニズム

注射

インフルエンザの予防注射(予防接種・ワクチン)を受けることで、一般的には「インフルエンザに罹らない」とイメージされています。インフルエンザの予防注射を受けると、どうしてインフルエンザに罹らないなどの効果が現れるのでしょうか。

インフルエンザの予防注射を受けると以下のようなメカニズムでインフルエンザへの罹患可能性が遮られることとなります。

インフルエンザの予防注射で使用されるワクチンは、イメージとして言えば「死亡したインフルエンザウィルス」です。つまり、感染性をなくした不活化ワクチンを体内に注射します。現在、日本で注射の際に使用されているワクチンは専門的には「スプリットHAワクチン」と呼ばれます。

このスプリットHAワクチンを体内に注射することでインフルエンザウィルスに対する免疫を作り出します。これによりインフルエンザウィルスへの感染を予防するということになります。インフルエンザ予防注射はこのように「毒をもって毒を制する」という仕組み・メカニズムとなっています。

インフルエンザ予防注射のメリット

このようなインフルエンザ予防注射をあらかじめ受けておくことで得られるメリットとしては、まず、インフルエンザへの罹患「可能性」が減少します。つまり、注射を打っておくことでインフルエンザに罹ってしまう可能性が下がるというメリットが期待できます。予防注射というくらいですので、インフルエンザにかかる可能性が下がるのは当然とも言えます。

インフルエンザは罹ってしまうと(ご経験がある方も多いと思われますが)40度近くまでのぼる高熱・全身の倦怠感など非常に辛い身体症状があらわれます。また、仕事や学校を休まなければならないという社会生活上のデメリットも生じます。さらに小さな子供の場合、インフルエンザに罹ってしまうことで、インフルエンザ脳炎という命に関わる病気に
なってしまう可能性も(非常に少ないながら)否定することができません。

インフルエンザ感染を避けるためにインフルエンザの注射は受けるメリットがあると言えます。

また、仮にインフルエンザに罹ってしまったとしても、注射を受けておくことで症状が重症化してしまうことを避けることができます。先ほど、インフルエンザの予防注射を受けることでインフルエンザにかかる「可能性」が低下すると申しましたが、インフルエンザの予防注射を受けていても、インフルエンザに罹らないという保証はありません

インフルエンザはとても強い感染力を持つとともに、その年に流行するインフルエンザウィルスのタイプが事前の予想と大きく異なってしまうことがあります。この場合、インフルエンザの予防注射を受けていたとしてもインフルエンザに罹ってしまう可能性は否定できません。

ただ、インフルエンザの予防注射を受けておくことでインフルエンザの症状が重症化してしまう事を避けることができます。運悪くインフルエンザに罹ってしまっても、その症状が軽く済むということは、インフルエンザ注射のひとつの大きなメリットということができるでしょう。

インフルエンザ予防注射接種の注意点

一方でインフルエンザ予防注射には注意したい点もあります。それは副反応という可能性です。副反応は一般的には副作用という言葉で理解されているものです。インフルエンザの注射を受けることでごくまれに、腫れや痛み等が生じたり、発熱や頭痛が生じることがあります。さらには、ごくまれには死亡というケースも数件ほどあります。インフルエンザ注射でかえって健康を害するリスクがわずかにあるという点は注意したい点と言えます。

ただ、インフルエンザの予防注射で副反応が出るケースはご高齢で、かつ持病をお持ちの方など非常に限られています。そのため、インフルエンザの予防注射による副反応のリスクは極めて低いものと言えるでしょう。

ビジュアル予防接種マニュアル
日本小児科医会
日本小児医事出版社
売り上げランキング: 19,833

まとめ:インフルエンザの予防注射はメリットのほうが大きい

以上、本文で述べましたインフルエンザの予防注射についてのポイントをまとめますと以下のようになります。

  • インフルエンザの予防注射は不活性のワクチンを注射することで体内に免疫を作りインフルエンザウィルスに感染することを防止するものです
  • インフルエンザの予防注射を受けることで、インフルエンザに罹ってしまう可能性を避けるとともにインフルエンザにかかってしまった場合でも重症化を避けることが可能です
  • インフルエンザの予防注射には、ごくまれに、副反応が生じてしまうことがありえます。しかし、インフルエンザの副反応は極めてごくまれに生じるものですのであまり心配する必要はないと言えます

このように見てみるとインフルエンザの予防注射を受けることで生じるデメリット・リスクは少ないということができます。インフルエンザ罹患を避けるためには予防注射を受けることが強くおすすめ出来ます。

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Check Also

考える

症状が似ているインフルエンザと扁桃腺炎を見分けるポイント

  インフルエンザと症状のよく …

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