Have you gotten your flu shot yet?
Although flu season is not yet in full swing, cases could begin to pick up at any time. Flu shots can take two weeks to be effective, so if you haven’t gotten yours yet, make plans to do so soon.
Here are four reasons everyone needs a flu shot.
1. Vaccines are necessary every year.
Getting a flu shot every year is the single most effective way to prevent the flu. It’s safe and recommended for anyone 6 months or older.
Influenza viruses are constantly changing, which is why it’s important to get a shot every flu season. This year’s vaccine is updated to better protect against the flu viruses experts expect to circulate this season.
Be aware, just like last flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging everyone to avoid using spray vaccine options such as FluMist. Studies have shown these options are not as effective in protecting against the flu as injectable flu vaccines.
2. Flu shots don’t give you the flu; they protect you from it.
Flu vaccines are either made with flu viruses that have been inactivated and are not infectious or are made without flu viruses altogether.
In either case, a vaccine will not cause you to develop the flu. Some people may experience soreness, redness or tenderness at the site of the shot, but that usually subsides after a day or two.
3. It protects those around you.
Receiving a flu vaccination helps keep those around you protected, too. If you live or care for infants too young to receive a vaccination, getting a flu shot will help protect them from the virus.
Encourage your loved ones to get vaccinated, and be conscious of those in your life who are more susceptible to the virus. They include people older than 65, those with chronic medical conditions like asthma or diabetes, and pregnant women.
4. If you do get sick, the vaccine can make your symptoms milder
Flu vaccines are not 100-percent effective, but they do significantly lower your risk of getting the virus. And if you do get a shot, but end up getting sick, you’re less like to experience the most severe outcomes related to influenza, including hospitalization and death.
That’s why it’s so important for at-risk populations – such as children, older adults and people with serious illnesses – to get a vaccination every year, no matter what.