It’s that time of year again! Halloween? NOPE
FLU vaccine time.
The CDC recommends all people age 6 months and up get the annual influenza vaccine. Why? Influenza (flu) is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Whether you believe it or not, there is proof that the flu vaccine saves lives. Influenza affects over 3 million Americans per year. 1-2 people per 100,000 will die from influenza complications. The influenza vaccine has been shown to decrease the death rate by more than half.
Every flu season is different, and flu can affect people differently, but during typical flu seasons, millions of people get flu, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized, and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes. Flu can mean a few days of feeling bad and missing work, school, or family events, or it can result in more serious illness. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
Although the annual influenza vaccine isn’t 100% effective, it lowers the chances of having severe complications from the flu. This is especially true for people who are at high risk for flu complications.
If you are hesitant to get vaccinated, remember the following myths about the vaccine.
- Myth 1: Influenza is not serious, so I don’t need the vaccine—False
- Myth 2: The flu vaccine can give me the flu—it is not possible because the shot uses a deadened form of the virus.
- Myth 3: The flu vaccine can cause severe side effects. Severe side effects are extremely rare.
- Myth 4: I had the vaccine and still got the flu, so it doesn’t work. Several flu viruses are circulating all the time, which is why people may still get the flu despite being vaccinated.
- Myth 5: I am pregnant, so I shouldn’t get the flu vaccine—The inactivated flu vaccine is safe at any stage of pregnancy.
Dr. Kolleen Burnett, FACOP, FAAP