Getting a Flu Shot?

by Rachelle on December 4, 2014

The cold has arrived, the leaves have either started to fall, or already have fallen, and flu season is in full force. Your family doctor has possibly given you notice that it is time for that seasonal flu shot, but many people either don’t bother with getting it done for one reason or another. Maybe it will help to understand a little bit more about some misconceptions of the flu shot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that starting at age 6 months, everyone should get the flu vaccine each year. Vaccination is especially important for people who are susceptible to serious or deadly complications from the flu. This includes those who have a weakened immune systems such as young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and asthma.

Getting vaccinated against the flu can’t give you the flu. Vaccines given by a shot are made with flu viruses that have been killed or made unable to replicate in humans. Flu vaccines given as a nose spray contains weakened flu viruses that can’t survive the warmth of the lungs, so it can’t flourish and cause the flu.

In some people, the flu vaccine causes side effects. These include discomfort where the shot was given, low-grade fever, and achiness. These side effects can make you feel lousy for a day or two, but it’s not the flu. Some people may coincidentally come down with a cold soon after getting the shot and confuse cold symptoms with the flu.

Skepticism about the flu vaccine’s effectiveness is understandable, but isn’t a good reason to skip it. There are dozens of different flu viruses. Long before flu season begins, experts must guess which ones will be most prominent the following flu season. This changes from year to year, which is why you need a flu shot every year.

Vaccines are created to protect against the three or four mostly likely causes of the flu. Some years the guesses are good and the vaccines are quite effective. Other years the presumptions aren’t so good and the vaccines aren’t as effective as they could be.

The flu vaccine may be imperfect, but it’s still worth getting. Here are three reasons why:

  1. It may keep you from getting the flu.
  2. If you do get the flu, you may not get as sick as you would have gotten without the vaccine, or you may be less likely to develop serious complications like pneumonia.
  3. If you don’t get the flu, you can’t pass it on. So you will help keep other people from getting sick, including those who may become seriously ill or die from flu complications.

All that said, there are some people who must be cautious about getting a flu shot. Children younger than 6 months are too young for the shot. People with egg or other allergies need to check with their doctors before getting the vaccine.

If you have the all clear to get a flu shot, they are widely available. You can get one at your doctor’s office or your local pharmacy. Many hospitals and workplaces also offer flu shots.

In addition to getting a flu shot, follow common sense precautions to avoid the flu. Avoid close contact with sick people if you can; wash your hands often and thoroughly; if you’re sick stay at home; use a tissue to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing then throw it away; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as germs spread easily this way.

Rachelle

Rachelle

Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
Hi I'm Rachelle, or "Elle" for short. I am a busy body, but always been a plus sized kinda girl. I've learned that my curves are sexy, and I can feel good about how I look without looking like a stick! I'm a work-a-holic and stay as active as I can with lots of projects, so I have to prioritize my health choices. Working for Creative Bioscience has opened my eyes to what you can do to supplement your diet, and manage things in a natural way. The advances that are being made in the health arena are so exciting, and we are on the front lines bringing the best of the best. Rachelle's favorite product is hCG 1234
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