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. And now is the perfect time to get your flu shot.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you get a flu shot by the end of October. This gives your body about 2 weeks to develop the immune response needed to protect you from the flu before peak flu season begins. If you get the flu shot earlier than October, you'll still be protected throughout the current flu season. And if October comes and goes and you still haven't gotten a flu shot, it's not too late. You're better off getting a flu shot late than not getting one at all.
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 to avoid getting the flu.
Here are 3 reasons to get a flu shot:
- It protects you. Getting an annual flu shot is the best way to avoid getting the flu, according to the CDC. Although the vaccine doesn't protect against every type of flu virus, it does protect against the strains that are predicted to be the most common each year. Even if you do get sick, your illness is typically milder if you've been vaccinated.
- It 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.
- It 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: August 8, 2019
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor