Everyone has heard of flu shots, and everyone seems to have a different opinion of how well they work, or if they work at all. You might be wondering if you should even get a flu shot this year or not. Let’s look closer at what the flu shot is and then at the benefits that getting these shots can offer to people.
What Does a Flu Shot Do?
The flu shot contains antigens designed to protect the body from the most common influenza virus strains of that particular year. They focus on the strains that are most common, as these are the ones that you have a higher likely hood of contracting. If you have undergone the flu shot, it helps to keep you safe.
Those who have had a flu shot will generally not suffer the severe symptoms of the flu, even if they have been in contact with someone who has a strain of the flu that the vaccine did not contain. This keeps you safer and healthier from all strains during the flu season.
For those who do still get the flu after getting a flu shot, you will find that the symptoms tend to be much milder. In addition, you can bounce back from the flu faster than those who have not had a flu shot. Getting vaccinated against the flu also means you are reducing the risk of serious flu outcomes. Each year, people are hospitalized and even die due to the flu. Having your flu shot helps to improve your chances of getting through the flu season with as few health problems as possible.
While keeping the general public healthy from a massive flu outbreak is certainly the number one goal of the flu shots, they do offer some other benefits as well.
Who Benefits from a Flu Shot?
The Centers for Disease Control recently conducted a study that shows flu shots reduce the number of doctor’s visits by about 60% across the country. By reducing the number of flu patients a doctor, or an emergency room, needs to see, it helps to ensure that all other patients get the care and attention they deserve.
Flu shots are helpful for both children and older people. The flu tends to be far more dangerous to those who are very young, as well as for those who are older and who may suffer from chronic health conditions. Seniors are particularly vulnerable, and the flu could worsen other secondary diseases and conditions from which they suffer. The flu shot helps to mitigate this risk substantially.
Additionally, pregnant women and newborns (6 months and older) will find that they are much safer having received the flu vaccine. Pregnant mothers who receive a flu shot will find that it can continue protecting their newborn for up to 6 months after birth.
How Well Do They Really Work?
The CDC says that there are a number of factors that will determine how successful a flu shot will be. First, they need to match the flu vaccine and flu viruses that are spreading that season. Other things can affect the effectiveness of the flu shot as well including the overall health of the person getting the shot, and their age, as well as whether they already have compromised immune systems. They do work well though in the majority of cases.
As you can see, flu shots do work and they can offer a number of benefits. If you want to improve your chance of staying healthy during the flu season, you can’t forego a flu shot. Schedule an appointment with your doctor about getting vaccinated and staying healthy.