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The Benefits of a Flu Shot

Senior couple protect from flu enjoying

Influenza or the flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses that can infect the throat, nose, and in more severe cases the lungs. It is contagious and is transferred from an infected person to others that come in contact. The virus can travel through the air, so you can be infected when you come into contact with a sneeze or cough from those already with the virus.

The Symptoms of the Flu

The common symptoms related to the flu are:

  • Body aches, you feel more fatigue
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Rise in body temperature and fever

While most people with the flu do recover from it, there are cases where it develops into something more serious. Complications related to the flu include:

  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus infection
  • Ear infection
  • Heart problems
Man suffering from influenza

About Influenza Viruses

There are four types of flu viruses, A, B, C, and D. As winter approaches, virus-type A and B result in the epidemic of influenza in the U.S. Type C doesn’t result in an epidemic but is more severe, resulting in mild respiratory illness. While the type D virus affects cattle, not humans.

Most of the population that is affected by the flu experience mild illness. They won’t need any special medical care or even antiviral drugs. Recovering from the flu can take anywhere from one to two weeks, depending on how careful you are. The flu is more common in:

  • Children, specifically in those 5 years and younger
  • Seniors, adults aged 65 and above
  • Residents of care facilities and nursing homes
  • Pregnant women
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system
  • Anyone with a chronic disease linked to the heart, kidney, or lungs
  • Obese individuals, especially those with a 40 or more in their body mass index

According to the CDC, between 9 to 49 million people catch the flu each year.

How Does a Flu Shot Work?

With a flu shot, you essentially introduce the influenza virus to your body. But it is an inactive virus so it can’t produce and infect your body. The immune system of the body then produces antibodies to fight the virus and takes the necessary measures to protect you from an infection from the virus again.

The Benefits of Getting a Flu Shot

Getting vaccinated presents you with numerous benefits, including:

  • Vaccination keeps the flu away: Flu vaccine greatly reduces the chances of you catching the flu. In 2018, the vaccine helped keep an estimated 6.2 million people from getting the flu. While some studies show that up to 60% of the vaccinated population is safe from influenza. The vaccine is your best bet to decrease the chances of catching the virus.
  • Vaccination reduces the risk of hospitalization linked to flu in children and older adults: Children and older adults are more vulnerable to the virus. Vaccination is essentially their chance to avoid the virus altogether. In 2018, the vaccine prevented around 91,000 hospitalizations associated with the flu.
  • The vaccine reduces the severity of the flu: While vaccination doesn’t completely prevent the flu, it does reduce the severity of it if you do happen to get it. People that get vaccinated are likely to feel better sooner. In the case of hospitalization, they spend 4 fewer days being hospitalized than those that don’t get vaccinated.
  • The vaccine can prevent deaths related to the flu in children: The children’s immune system isn’t as strong as an adult. Not only are they more vulnerable to the virus but the impact can even be deadly. Vaccination is known to reduce the causes of death in children from the flu by 65% in healthy children and 51% in children with any medical condition.

Do I need a Flu Shot?

The flu vaccine is beneficial for everyone. It may not be necessary for healthy individuals to get one, but it will decrease the chances of you getting the flu. However, flu shots are recommended for the following:

  • Seniors, adults aged 65 and above
  • Children, primarily those 5 years or younger
  • Anyone that lives in a care facility or nursing home
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system
  • Pregnant women and those that are breast-feeding

Not only does the flu shot lower the chances of you getting the flu but it also limits the impact of the virus if you are to catch it.

Is the Flu Shot Safe for Everyone?

The vaccine is safe for everyone but it may pose a threat to:

  • Infants that are 6 months or younger
  • Anyone that has had a reaction to the flu shot before
  • Anyone with a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS)

Will I Experience Any Side Effect to the Flu Shot?

Flu shots are very safe but there are chances of some mild side effects in rare cases. You may experience the following side effects:

  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • A fever
  • Fainting
Get a flu shot today

Schedule a Flu Shot Near You

Stay safe from the flu this winter and get a flu shot from the nearest VIPcare clinic. Our team has been in family medical practice for over three decades. We understand that children and even some adults have a fear of shots. Our team administers the vaccine process and makes sure to make you comfortable before it is applied. For those that prefer, we also offer a vaccination in the form of a nasal spray.

Getting a flu shot is essential to you and your family’s well-being. So, feel free to contact a VIPcare clinic near you if you have questions about the flu vaccine or any of the primary care services.