If you’re considering forgoing a flu shot this season, an Our Lady of the Lake primary care physician, Brandi Fontenot, MD, gives you seven reasons why you should reconsider.
1. A flu shot can save your life.
The flu can cause some serious complications that sometimes require hospitalization, such as dehydration, worsening of chronic illnesses, bacterial pneumonia, ear infections and sinus infections.
Each year, in Louisiana alone, the flu causes approximately 700 deaths and nearly 8,000 hospitalizations according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
2. Getting a flu shot can reduce your sick days.
Whether you are hospitalized or take time off to recuperate at home, it’s going to cost you and your employer. The flu accounts for 111 million lost workdays and nearly $7 billion in lost productivity and sick days annually, according to flu.gov.
3. Most people are eligible to get the flu shot.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu shot for anyone over six months of age.
4. There is a flu shot for older adults.
There’s a flu shot that’s given to people over the age of six months, as well as a version suitable for people 65 and over, which gives them even better protection against the flu.
5. The flu shot changes each year.
Before each flu season, the CDC determines which strains of influenza appear most likely to occur that year. The vaccine will reduce your chances of contracting certain strains of the virus and if you do get sick, having the vaccine can significantly reduce the severity of your symptoms and improve your ability to get over it faster.
The strain that is introduced through the flu shot is killed. When your immune system comes into contact with that killed virus, it activates the immune system and creates antibodies. If you do come across the real flu, then you’re ready to fight it off and reduce the chances of getting sick from the flu.
6. Flu shot side effects are usually mild.
With any vaccine, side effects are possible. After the flu shot, you may experience minor side effects such as headache, stuffy nose or sore throat, while others may experience no side effects at all. These side effects typically last a day or so, while the flu itself can exhibit symptoms for up to two weeks.
7. The flu shot helps with herd immunity.
Getting the flu shot is not only important for yourself but also for those who aren’t eligible to get the vaccine, such as infants or those with suppressed immune systems. This protection created by the population getting immunized is called herd immunity and helps to lower the risk of spreading the flu.
The flu virus can spread very easily from person to person. You can simply get it when an infected person talks, sneezes or coughs, and small microscopic droplets get in your nose or mouth. You can also get the flu by touching something that has the virus germs on it, then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.
It’s not too late to get a flu shot. Flu shots are available at our walk-in clinic locations and our primary care offices.
Dr. Fontenot suggests If you have questions regarding the flu vaccination or any vaccination, utilize your primary care physician.
Check out our quick reference guide to avoid confusion between COVID-19, flu, cold and allergy symptoms.