A Case For the Flu Vaccine, Even If You’re Healthy
Many adults believe it’s not that important to get an annual flu shot. They’re willing to take their chances of getting the flu. Some have misconceptions about the flu shot. However, if they become ill with influenza, they may risk the health of others, especially those with weakened immune systems.
People at greatest risk for flu include those with underlying lung conditions such as asthma or emphysema, as well as diabetics, those over the age of 65, and children under the age of six months who aren’t able to be vaccinated yet. Pregnant women are also at risk of complications if they contract the flu.
Anyone who lives or works around people at risk should get the flu vaccine to protect those around them. This includes employees who work in health care and are around patients regularly. Although peak flu season is in January and February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you get a flu shot as soon as it becomes available.
The more people who are vaccinated against the flu, the better we can prevent it from becoming pandemic as it did in 2009. The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine.
Flu strains vary from year-to-year. This year, the flu vaccine includes two A strains, H1N1, H3N2 and influenza B components. Being vaccinated annually decreases the likelihood of getting these flu strains.
Flu symptoms include a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever, chills, severe body aches and fatigue. Flu is more severe than a cold and comes on more rapidly. While it typically lasts a few days, it can go on for two weeks, barring complications such as pneumonia or other respiratory ailments. People who get the flu — even the healthiest people — will usually find themselves bedridden for three days.
Some people refuse to be vaccinated because of common myths.
Myth No. 1:
The vaccine can give you the flu. This cannot happen. The vaccine contains inactivated, not intact, virus– only portions of the virus itself. In cases where people do contract flu, it’s likely they got it before they developed immunity from the vaccine. It takes up to two weeks to develop immunity after the injection. Side effects from the flu shot may include redness or soreness at the injection site, a low-grade fever, headache and/or nausea.
Myth No. 2:
If you have an egg allergy, you shouldn’t get the flu shot. It’s true that people who have severe egg allergies that are life-threatening should not be vaccinated. However, if you have a mild allergy to eggs, check with your doctor about getting the flu shot.
For almost everything you would ever want to know about the flu and flu shots, visit flu.gov. There’s even a Flu Vaccine Finder where you can type in your ZIP code for the nearest dispenser of flu vaccinations.
Where to Get the Flu Shot
Flu vaccines are available at all Lifetime Health Medical Group’s practices in Rochester. Check lifetimehealth.org for more information.
Be sure your provider is an in-network participating medical provider. If your health plan covers preventative services, the flu vaccine is no cost.