The question of whether or not a person should get a flu shot seems to be one asked yearly. What are the benefits? What are the risks? What are the myths? Will it help our overall general health? Hopefully after reading this article the answer will be clear whether or not you should get a flu shot.
What exactly is the flu? The influenza virus is a highly contagious virus that attacks the respiratory system. All of the symptoms you might find with the common cold (coughing, sneezing, congestion, sore throat, headache, etc.) are associated with the flu, but the flu often causes a high fever accompanied with body aches and fatigue. These symptoms can lead to more serious issues that are certainly not good for one’s general health which may prompt an individual to consider getting a flu shot.
There are several benefits to getting a flu shot. The flu vaccination reduces the risk of getting the flu by 40% to 60%. This is especially true among children and older adults and the prevention of hospitalization caused by flu symptoms. Flu vaccination has proven to be an effective tool for people with chronic health conditions such as cardiac issues. It has lowered some cardiac events just by receiving the vaccination especially for those who have experienced heart issues within the past year. Patients who have chronic lung disease or diabetes who have received the flu shot have also shown a decrease in hospitalization. Another benefit of the flu vaccination is proven among pregnant women to not only reduce their risk of catching the flu, but reducing their baby’s risk of getting the flu after birth. If for some reason you still get sick with the flu after receiving a flu shot, chances are your symptoms will be milder.
As with any medication or vaccination, risks are always involved. Babies under the age of six months should not receive the flu shot. Any person with a severe allergy to the ingredients found in the flu vaccination, such as gelatin or antibiotics, should not consider getting a flu shot for obvious reasons. Other things to consider before getting the flu vaccination are any allergies to eggs or a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Speaking with your physician is advised in either case. People may also experience a low-grade fever and a sore arm after receiving the injection.
The biggest myth about flu shots is that the flu vaccination actually causes the flu. Prior to 2016 some vaccines contained a live virus, however, it was weakened and was specifically developed to prevent illness. Since then flu vaccinations are made from inactivated virus. The virus is essentially grown and then killed, making it impossible for a dead virus to cause the flu but instead help your body build an immunity to the live virus.
When considering one’s general health, one needs to be informed and educated. Only you can decide if getting the flu shot is best for your well-being. Compare the benefits to the risks and deduce whether or not the risks of getting the flu are better or worse than the risks of receiving the vaccination.