5 Reasons to Get a Flu Shot that Might Surprise You
If you’ve ever gotten the flu you know how miserable it makes you. Many people get a fever, but not always; other common symptoms are cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, headaches and general fatigue.
In other words, no fun! But if you’re a healthy person you usually get over it within a few days. Here’s the problem with that: remembering how brief your bout was the last time can tempt you to save a few bucks and not get a shot to prevent getting the flu again.
Not to make you overly anxious, but here are a few reasons to reconsider getting that flu shot:
1. Flu pandemics happen.
That’s right, we’re bringing out the big guns to start with! Did you know there was a worldwide influenza pandemic in 1918? Severe reports came in from Europe as young soldiers were becoming ill in large numbers. It spread to civilian populations in Europe, then Asia, Africa, South America and back to North America. By the summer of 1919, nearly 20 million died of influenza-related illness.
Yes, that was nearly a century ago. But as recently as 2009-2010 the swine flu struck (H1N1). The CDC estimates there were between 8,870 and 18,300 H1N1 virus-related deaths. The point to note here is that without quick-response vaccine development and people taking advantage of vaccines, there is a risk of an outbreak like this every year.
So get the shot for the sake of public health!
2. The flu exacerbates existing medical conditions.
Basically, if your body is already taxed by an ongoing medical condition you have more personal reason than anyone to vaccinate yourself. Here are a few of the common conditions that the flu does no favors for:
- Chronic lung disease
- Heart disease
- Blood disorders
- Kidney disorders
If your immune system is weakened for any reason, especially by AIDS, diabetes or cancer, the flu will do far more damage than to the average person. Consider a flu vaccination part of your basic self-care.
3. Bringing the flu home puts your kids at risk.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), “Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.”
These facts are especially important to know if you have young children at home: you can infect others before you have symptoms yourself, and severe complications such as pneumonia are most common in children under 2 years old.
Your vaccination could keep your baby out of the hospital.
4. Bringing the flu home puts live-in parents at risk.
The other group to be concerned about are any members of your household over the age of 65. 90% of influenza-associated deaths occur among adults in this age group. Again, the highest risk is among those with weak immune systems, but even if the elder in your home is in perfect health there’s no reason not to take the proper precautions.
Don’t put Grandma’s life at risk. Get the shot.
5. There is little to no warning.
The flu usually comes on suddenly. You can’t run off and get a shot for it once you start feeling the effects. Once you have symptoms you have no choice but to clear your schedule, get away from people and rest, or press on and endanger the people around you. This is the most common consequence of not vaccinating yourself: discovering too late that you’ve got it and losing precious time on recovery.
Get the shot so you can keep up with life throughout flu season!
If this already happened to you, don’t feel bad. It’s not too late to prevent the next round by getting vaccinated. Go tell your coworkers, friends and family to do the same.
That ought to make you feel pretty good.