So for the last two years I have made a point of getting a flu vaccine, something not only important for my health but for the health of others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),in the United States there were 80,000 influenza related deaths last year. That is the highest number on record since the U.S. began tracking the flu. Aside from those deaths there were 900,000 hospitalizations.
Two years ago marked the first time I had ever gotten a flu vaccine. I had previously chosen not to get one because of several crazy reasons.
- I have a fear of needles so I opted to not get the vaccine.
- One needle prick can save your life.
- There are nasal spray options if you just can’t overcome the needle fear.
- I thought the vaccine would give me the flu.
- No. The flu vaccine can’t give you the flu. Although you might develop flu-like symptoms for a variety of reasons.
Reasons to Get the Flu Vaccine
Here is some sobering news about the flu vaccine. The CDC reports that only two in five people report getting the vaccine annually. This really is something that we should all work toward turning around. The importance of getting the vaccine cannot be understated.
- The vaccine can help cut your risk in half in getting the flu
- It can help prevent more serious flu related illnesses
- Helps friends and family members from possibly getting the flu (if you don’t get the flu they can’t get it from you)
- It can save your life.
When Should I Get The Flu Vaccine
The CDC recommends that the best time to get the flu shot is between October and November. For older Texans and individuals with special health problems, they also might need a pneumococcal vaccine.
“The flu vaccine causes your body to make antibodies to fight influenza, but it takes about two weeks for this to happen. So, it’s important to get the flu vaccine early, before influenza hits your community,” said Dr. Jennifer Shuford, DSHS Infectious Disease Medical Officer. “By getting the flu vaccine every year, you can help protect yourself from influenza, and thereby prevent spreading it to vulnerable people in your family or community.”
Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine
- Children aged 6 months to five years
- All women who will be pregnant during the influenza season
- Adults 50 years of age and older
- Individuals of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- Children and adolescents aged 6 months–18 years on long-term aspirin therapy
- Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities
- Individuals who live with or care for adults at high risk or who care for children from birth to five years of age
- Health care workers
Symptoms of the Flu
Symptoms of the flu usually start suddenly and include fever, body aches, chills, a dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, headaches and extreme fatigue and can last a week or longer. It is important to note that not all flu sufferers will have a fever.