July 13th, 2009
With colder weather well on its way, cold and flu season will soon be upon us. That means you’ll need to get a flu shot if you’re planning on doing it this season. If you’ve never gotten a flu shot before or are worried about the potential side effects of getting one, you may be debating whether or not to head into your doctor’s office or pharmacy for the inoculation. While the shot may not protect you from every variation of the flu, it can often be your best bet when it comes to avoiding getting sick. If you’re still not sold on getting your flu shot, here are some things that can help you make up your mind.
You’ll get protection against the H1N1 virus. Remember the swine flu? Well it’s still around and can be potentially deadly to those who are young, old or have immune deficiencies. It can be pretty darn unpleasant for the rest of us as well, so it’s smart to avoid getting it if possible, and this year’s flu shots will help you build up an immunity ahead of time.
The flu can cause severe complications. While few people these days die from influenza, the risk is still there. Your risk is increased if you are pregnant, a young child or a senior or if you have medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis, COPD or asthma. Getting a flu shot can help you prevent illness or reduce its severity.
You don’t necessarily have to get a shot. Hate needles? Well you might not have to deal with one to get vaccinated against the flu. In some places, a nasal spray is available that allows you to get the same protection without the shot. There are some drawbacks, of course, and not all patients will be eligible for the nasal spray.
Flu shots are between 70 and 90 percent effective. The CDC reports these numbers for healthy adults who receive the vaccine. While 100 percent protection would be nice, nothing else will offer you this much protection against the flu.
If you’re the type that rarely if ever gets sick then you may not need a flu shot. For the rest of us, it provides a great extra layer of protection that can help ensure we spend our winter months healthy and happy instead of sick and in bed.
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