The Flu Vaccine: Your Best Shot at Avoiding Illness

Posted on December 10, 2021

Category: Causes and Prevention

By now, you’re probably tired of hearing about getting your flu shot or vaccines of any kind: either because you’ve already gotten yours, or you’re not someone who feels inclined to do so.

One could almost say the vaccine messaging is just as – if not, more persistent than influenza itself. That’s appropriate considering the season and the severity the flu can have. During this year’s National Influenza Vaccination Week, it only seems right remember why getting your flu shot it so important.

Why Should I Get My Flu Shot Every Year?

First off, let’s dispel a long-standing rumor: the flu shot doesn’t give you the flu. Its goal is to protect you from contracting the virus. The vaccine is made from dead viruses or a single protein from influenza that can’t harm you.

With constant reminders coming at you, it’s easy to become desensitized, but don’t forget that the flu isn’t as simple as getting a cold: the flu can result in serious chronic illnesses like bacterial pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, and in serious cases can result in death.

In 2017-2018, the CDC estimates that around 80,000 people died of influenza.

It’s a virus that’s ever evolving. Luckily, so is the vaccine. This year’s flu shot isn’t the same as last years or the year before and so on. New vaccines are made every year to keep up with the virus’ mutations. Plus, your antibodies from your last vaccine decline over time, so a boost is highly recommended.

Another reason to get your shot isn’t even about you at all: It’s about the people around you.

Who Should Get the Flu Shot?

Ideally, everyone should take the flu vaccine. Taking the shot can help create herd immunity among the population. But, for those who are higher risk, they need to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

When you ask the CDC who is at risk of serious flu complications, the list is pretty long. It can be especially harmful to people who:

  • Are 65 years and older
  • Less than 2 years old
  • Have asthma
  • Have certain blood disorders
  • Have chronic lung and heart diseases
  • Have liver disorders
  • Have a BMI of 40+
  • Suffered a stroke

And the list goes on. Pregnant people, those who live in nursing homes, and people who belong to certain ethnic and minority groups are at an even higher risk.

Anyone who is over six months of age is eligible to get the flu vaccine – and there’s even an option to take it without using a needle. Healthy people between 2 and 49 can take a nasal spray variant of the vaccine – this is a live virus version. The virus is weakened, however, and can’t cause infection.

The CDC recommends annual flu shots for everyone 6 months and older. Children between 6 months and 8 years might need two doses of the vaccine at least four weeks apart, then they can start to receive it annually.

Yet, there are very rare exceptions why someone should not get the flu vaccine:

  • No child that’s 6 months and younger should take the vaccine
  • People with severe, life-threatening allergies to any vaccine ingredients
  • People who’ve had any severe allergic reactions to any dose of the vaccine

You can’t get sick from taking the flu shot, yet there are some people who’ve experienced certain side effects like soreness, redness, tenderness, and some swelling where they were injected. Those effects usually begin 1 or 2 days after vaccination and last for just as long.

If you’re looking for flu shot clinics in Sioux Falls, SD, contact Sioux Falls Urgent Care and schedule an appointment or walk in when it’s convenient for you.

To some, the flu might seem like just another bad infection, but for someone else, their life could be at stake. That’s why it’s more important to increase awareness and spread information about the benefits of the flu shot – and this mission goes beyond National Influenza Vaccination Week. Influenza might spread quickly, but words travel fast too, and even faster when we work together. So, this season, don’t spread the flu, spread the word.