Missed that flu shot? You still have time.
Getting vaccinated for the flu every year is the best way to avoid getting sick from influenza viruses, which can be miserable for most and may be serious or even deadly for some. Each year, the flu shot helps protect against the types of flu viruses that are expected to be most common.
If you don't want to get a flu shot because you are concerned about the safety of the vaccine, it's important to understand that the risks associated with the flu far outweigh any potential risks from the vaccine. Misconceptions about the flu vaccine stop some people from taking the most important step they can in protecting themselves against the flu.
Here are 3 reasons to get a flu shot:
- The flu vaccine protects you. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that getting an annual flu shot is the best way to avoid getting the flu. Although the vaccine doesn't protect against every type of flu virus, your illness is typically milder if you do get sick.
- The flu vaccine protects those around you. If you get the flu, you risk spreading it to others. Getting a flu shot is especially important if you are around people who are at higher risk of flu complications, such as older adults, babies, young children and those with certain medical conditions.
- The flu vaccine reduces flu-related hospital visits. Getting vaccinated for the flu has been associated with lower hospitalization rates among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease, reduced rates of cardiac events in people with heart disease and a significantly lower risk of death from the flu in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
In addition to getting a flu vaccine each year, here are some things you can do to fight the flu:
- Make healthy choices to boost your immune system.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Don't touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that may come into contact with germs.
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Date Last Reviewed: October 13, 2017
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD