It may still feel like summer, but flu season will be here before you know it. Since the flu can strike as early as October, health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a yearly flu shot as the best way to protect yourself against the three or four influenza viruses that are most likely to spread during peak flu season. Need more convincing? Here are a few reasons why getting vaccinated is so important.
The Flu Shot Protects You—and Others
Influenza viruses are always changing, which means last year’s vaccine may not protect you against this year’s viruses. By getting the flu shot every year, you’re protecting yourself and your family, your co-workers and patients or residents—especially older adults with chronic health conditions such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes—as well as children who are too young to receive the flu shot (younger than six months old).
The Vaccine Is Safe
One of the most common myths about the flu shot is that it can actually give you the flu. This is false. You cannot get the flu from the vaccine, because it’s made from inactive or severely weakened viruses. The CDC reports that millions of people have safely received the vaccine over the past 50 years, and numerous studies throughout that time support this finding. If you happen to get the flu after being vaccinated, it’s likely that you were exposed to the virus before you got the shot.
Your Symptoms Will Be Milder If You Do Get Sick
The vaccine isn’t a guarantee that you won’t come down with the flu; but it’s still worth getting because if you do contract the virus, it’s likely to be milder than if you had skipped the shot. And you’re less likely to develop severe flu-related illnesses that can keep you in bed for weeks or send you to the hospital.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention