Why you should get a flu shot this year

GEHA | October 18, 2019

immunization
Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. A flu vaccine every year is the best way to help protect yourself against the flu.

Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and the flu can affect people differently. A flu vaccine every year is the best way to help protect yourself against the flu.

Flu vaccines …

  • Can keep you from getting the flu.
  • Can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization.
  • May help reduce hospitalizations for people with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.
  • Help protect women during and after pregnancy.
  • Reduce a child’s risk or dying from influenza.
  • Reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.

How it works

The flu shot protects against the three or four types of flu viruses that are most likely to make you sick during the flu season. It’s best to get the shot before the flu season starts, by October, if possible, but you can still get it in January or later. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to protect you.

Some minor side effects may occur including soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given, low grade fever, aches or headache.

You cannot get the flu from the flu shot. However, there’s a chance you could get sick even after you get vaccinated. This is possible for the following reasons:

  • You may be exposed to a flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two weeks after getting vaccinated.
  • You may be exposed to a flu virus that is not included in the flu vaccine.

Who should get it?

Almost everyone six months old and older should get a flu vaccine every year. It is safe for pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions to receive a flu vaccine.

Children under six months old and people who are allergic to the flu shot or its ingredients should not get a flu vaccine. Also, talk to your doctor if you are allergic to eggs, have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome or are not feeling well.

A flu shot is not a perfect tool, but it is the best way to protect against flu infection.


Sources:

“Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine.” www.cdc.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 September 2019.

“Seasonal Flu Shot.” www.cdc.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 September 2019.

“The Flu Vaccine: Get the Facts.” www.webmd.com, Web MD LLC, 19 August 2017.