Do I Really Need a Flu Shot?
October is prime time for flu vaccinations, but let’s face it—it’s also a busy time of year. You may be getting ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving, juggling soccer practice, school plays, your gym routine and you’re probably wondering if you really need to take time out for a flu shot. We think you do and here’s why.
Flu Shot Basics
- A flu shot is safe. It protects you and it protects your family, your friends and those around you.
- Flu strains vary every year and vaccine manufacturers must work 6 months ahead, doing the best job they can to figure out what the flu season will bring. Some years they do better than others, but you’ll be better protected if you vaccinate each year. You may come down with the flu even if you’ve had your shot. However, you’re more likely to get a worse case of the flu if you haven’t been vaccinated.
- A flu vaccination is essential for those at high risk of complications. This includes children under the age of 5, especially children younger than 2; adults 65 years and older; pregnant women; people with chronic health conditions and those with compromised immune systems, such as transplant patients. Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Not sure if you have flu symptoms? Remember the anagram F.A.C.T.S.—Fever, Aches, Chills, Tiredness, Sudden Onset.
A Surprising Benefit of the Flu Shot
A team of researchers collaborating with the CDC found that the flu vaccine has a surprising added benefit. It can lower the risk of developing flu-related pneumonia in both adults and children.
The CDC recommends a flu shot for everyone 6 months of age and older. It’s best to get your shot soon after the flu vaccination is available, ideally by October. However, if you’ve put it off, you can still benefit from vaccination even after flu season kicks into high gear.
Here’s a great CDC reference guide for the 2015-2016 flu season.