Influenza is a serious and potentially life-threatening illness that should be treated as such. In the 2014-15 flu season, the CDC reported 128 pediatric deaths alone. While there seems to be much contention surrounding the issue of flu shots, the bottom line is that they drastically lower your chances of contracting a serious bout of influenza. Only you can make up your mind, but here are some key facts that may help your decision:
- It can help protect the vulnerable: those who are immunocompromised (such as AIDS patients), the elderly, those who are chronically ill, pregnant women and children are at much higher risk of catching infections or viruses including influenza. An annual flu shot helps those who need extra protection.
- It saves lives: Influenza not only results in severe illness but also causes thousands of deaths each year (predominantly among the elderly population). When yearly flu shots are utilized, it can drastically cut down on deadly cases of influenza.
- It can cut your risk of developing influenza by up to 77%.
- It may result in fewer life interruptions such as missed work, school or cancelled vacations or plans because of the flu.
- You may be saving others from the flu in the process because if you do not contract influenza, you can’t spread it to those around you.
- There are special options for certain groups such as Flublok for those with egg allergies (it does not contain egg protein), as well as a new FDA approved vaccine called Fluad developed specifically for the elderly.
- The flu vaccine formula is specially modified annually to include recent viral strains, increasing its effectiveness.
- It may protect mother and unborn baby from contracting the flu, which could have deadly consequences during pregnancy.
- Contrary to popular concern, the flu shot does not cause the flu, and side effects are usually minimal.
- It is quick and convenient. Most pharmacists are now certified to administer the flu vaccine, so you don’t have to spend hours waiting on your doctor.
Who Should Get it And Who Shouldn’t?
It is recommended that the majority of people older than 6 months of age should get an annual flu shot. However, those who should not
rush out for a flu shot may include:
- Babies younger than 6 months of age
- Those who have known allergies to any ingredients in the flu shot such as gelatin
- Those who have had unusual side effects from previous flu shots
- Anyone who has had Guillain-Barre syndrome in the past
- Anyone who has been advised by a doctor not to have the flu shot
We hope you err on the side of caution this year when it comes to the flu by getting your flu shot! Thanks for visiting EMC!