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Do I Need A Flu Shot?

September 28, 2016

 

A common misconception is that only elderly or immunocompromised people need the flu shot.  Of course, those at higher risk of infection and complications of infections would be high priority. However, certain strains of the flu virus, such as the Spanish influenza of 1918, are so virulent that it turns the host’s immune system against itself.  So actually, those strains of the flu attack the young and healthy more than the older/immunocompromised population.  

 

Worried that the flu shot will give you the flu?  There is no need to worry about that.  The flu shot is an inactivated form of the flu virus and even though side effects may be achiness and fatigue, it is usually from stimulation of your immune system and not the flu itself.  There are preservative-free flu shots available for those wanting to avoid extra additives.

 

Those that should highly consider the flu shot this season include pregnant mothers and those around newborn babies.  Since newborn babies cannot get the flu vaccine, it is important to vaccinate those that plan to be around a newborn especially around flu season.

 

Thankfully, the last few flu seasons have not been devastating but that does not guarantee a virulent strain is not in our near future.  I typically get my own flu shot around mid-October to be sure I have lasting coverage through the flu season.  Flu shots are inexpensive and can be administered at your local pharmacy or walk-in clinic.

 

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