6 Reasons to Get a Flu Shot This Year
Did you decide to skip your flu shot this year? If so, you might want to rethink that. Here's why:
Getting the shot is the single best way for nearly everyone to prevent the flu, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So, what's stopping you? Here are 6 common excuses, and why you should reconsider:
- It's too late. It's true, getting a flu shot early in the season offers the best protection, but the shot is effective anytime, even if you wait until December. Flu activity typically peaks in January or February and can last as late as May.
- I'm healthy. The flu vaccine is especially important for high-risk people (pregnant women, young kids, older folks, and anyone with a compromised immune system), but the rest of us need it, too. Having the shot will prevent you from wasting precious vacation days or (worse!) going to work sick and sharing the virus with your coworkers.
- I had a flu shot last year. Smart move! Get another one this year. The vaccine is reformulated annually to protect against strains of the flu virus predicted to be most widespread. Give your immunity an extra boost with these 4 foods.
- The flu shot always makes me sick. The flu vaccine is formulated from dead or inactive viruses, so it can't make you sick. If you do get sick, chances are you were exposed to the virus before getting the shot or you picked up a virus not included in the vaccine. Learn how your mood can help fight off winter flu bugs.
- I live in a warm climate. The flu virus becomes active once temperatures drop below 60 degrees, but a warm climate doesn't offer much protection. According to CDC stats, the flu was as widespread last year in the balmy Southwest as it was in the frigid Northeast.
- I hate needles. Ask for a nasal spray flu vaccine instead. It's approved for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49. (The nasal spray isn't approved for pregnant women, people 50 and older, and anyone with a weakened immune system; they'll need to grin and bear the shot.)
There are some exceptions. Flu shots are off limits for infants younger than 6 months. Also, check with your doctor if you have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome, if you've had a severe reaction to the flu shot in the past, or if you're allergic to eggs (the vaccine may contain egg protein).
Do you know the difference between a cold and the flu? Take this quick quiz to find out.