To get a flu shot…or not

Your co-worker in the cube next to you has been hacking up a lung all week…it is that time of the year…flu season has begun.  In the U.S., the flu season is usually from fall through early spring.  

According to the Center for Disease Control

  • 5 to 20 percent of the population get the flu
  • More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications
  • Deaths from flu-related causes range from 3,300 to 48,600 (average 23,600)

Around this time of year, the flu shot commercials start, your office may offer shots for employees or your doctor suggests you get one.  Do you?  Have you in the past?  Did you get it and felt sick after so you never got it again? The Center for Disease Control and the medical profession believe that a seasonal flu shot is the best way to protect you from the flu. 

Back when I worked for a healthcare company, I did receive the shot every year.  From personal experience, I never got sick after and despite interacting with the community every day, I didn’t get sick often.  However, this year I am undecided on whether I will get the shot.  I still interact with the community everyday, and have already gotten sick 3 times, but still I hesitate.  Why?  Maybe because the thought of inflecting involuntary pain doesn’t sound fun, or sadly, because it isn’t free this year?  In years past, I just got it, didn’t think twice and really didn’t read the waiver I had to sign that explained what the shot was.  This year I am doing my research.

What is the “flu shot”?  It contains three seasonal influenza viruses that are grown in eggs. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses. It is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.  According to the CDC, the flu vaccine is 70-90% effective in preventing the flu in those 65 years and younger.  Since it is an inactive virus being injected, you can’t get sick from the actual shot.  It is argued in research that those that get sick usually had been exposed to the flu prior to the shot.

In the end, it is your decision whether to get a shot or not.   The best way to decide, educate yourself.  Read here for more info on the flu shot.

Where you can get a flu shot in your neighborhood.

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