The 2018–2019 flu season was the longest in a decade, lasting 21 weeks. The good news: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) credit high early-season vaccination rates with keeping the severity of the season to a “moderate” level. Still, more than 42 million people contracted the flu, resulting in 647,000 hospitalizations and more than 61,000 deaths.
A flu shot is still the most effective means to avoid getting the flu. And healthcare workers are at a higher-than-normal risk of being exposed to the virus, so getting the flu shot protects you, your family, and your patients and residents.
Many people believe that the flu shot can give you the flu. This is a myth. The vaccine is made from inactive viruses, so it can’t infect you. If you do feel sick after the shot, you were most likely exposed to the virus before or just after being vaccinated, since the shot takes about two weeks to take effect.
The CDC says October is the best time to get your annual flu shot. It’s quick and easy to get one at most worksites or at your local pharmacy. And remember, your Benefit Fund covers flu vaccinations, so you can also see your doctor for the shot.