Why It’s Beneficial To Get An Annual Flu Shot
You’ve told yourself it’s not happening this winter. You’ve done just about everything you can think of to stay healthy. You wash your hands, you use hand sanitizer regularly, you cover your mouth when you cough, you try to avoid extended interactions with folks who are obviously sick.
But try as you might, it still hits. One day you’re feeling fine and the next day you’re feeling chilled and achy. You develop a bad cough, a fever and can’t stop sneezing. You try your best to maintain your everyday routine, but you battle a feeling of malaise and you feel unmotivated to do much of anything.
You’ve been hit with the flu.
If it’s doing a number on your immune system and making you deathly ill, you’re not alone. It’s estimated by the Center for Disease Control that 200,000 people end up in the hospital due to complications from the flu and about 20% of the U.S. population catches the flu during the peak of flu season.
It’s little wonder why then you see so many advertisements and get advice from doctors about getting a flu shot. With the popularity of the Internet, you may read a lot online about how people feel about flu shots. But you should refrain from making snap judgments and talk to medical professionals to get the real truth.
The bottom line is that flu shots are absolutely safe and do not make you sick and despite what you may read, there are many benefits to getting one every year:
- Not getting the flu: The most obvious benefit to getting an annual flu shot at any urgent care or from your primary doctor is that you’re better protected from getting the flu. The CDC in fact still recommends a flu shot as the most effective weapon against the flu.
- Protection: Obviously you’re helping your own health when you get a flu shot, but you’re also protecting those around you (like your family).
- Getting less sick: A flu shot isn’t a cure-all, but is can scale back the severity of the symptoms you feel if you do come down the flu.
Flu shots come highly recommended and for good reason, but it’s important to note there are some risks involved even if you do get them:
- Getting sick: Let it be repeated that getting a flu shot isn’t a guarantee that you’ll never get the flu again. Even with a flu shot, your body usually takes a few weeks to develop immunity and in that waiting period, flu symptoms can still develop.
It’s also important to note that in some years, the vaccine that’s created to combat the flu isn’t as effective as it should be. Flu vaccines are made with inactive strains of the flu virus and researchers do their best to determine which strains might be active in a given year. But sometimes the virus is more severe than originally thought.
- Having a reaction: Even if you’re a veteran when it comes to getting flu shots, it’s still possible to develop a bad reaction. You should be able to tell within a few hours if this happens and you can go to an urgent care to get treated for symptoms like rash, swelling and wheezing.
If you’ve determined that getting a flu shot is the best course of action for your health, you may be wondering when you need to get one. In reality, it’s always a judgement call, but the best time to visit an urgent care for a flu shot might be mid or late October before flu season really hits. This gives your body some time to develop immunity before things get real bad.
Bottom line: if you need to get your flu shot for the year, get down to one of your local urgent care clinics and get one before flu season hits in full force. More than three million Americans visit urgent cares every week in the U.S. and it’s estimated that as many as 170 million flu shots have been developed for this flu season. So if you need one, don’t’ hesitate to get one.