Now’s the time to get your flu shot for the 2018-2019 flu season. These vaccines are readily available at your doctor’s office, walk-in clinics and most pharmacies. Best of all, they are completely covered by insurance and are often offered for free or very low-costs.
The CDC’s studies show that those who get flu shots reduce their risk of getting the flu by 40% to 60%. Put differently, that’s 40% to 60% less time:
- Spent in doctor’s offices, urgent care or the hospital
- Taking time off work as the result of the flu
- Taking time off work to take care of a child with the flu
- Children spend out of school and having to catch up on missing work
Benefits of getting the flu shot
Last year, during the 2017-2018 flu season the CDC reported 80,000 flu-related deaths. Of course, many of those deaths occurred in populations that are already vulnerable or who have compromised immune systems, but medical professionals are confident that flu shots not only reduce the number of flu-related illnesses, but also reduce the flu season’s death toll.
Now that the fall season has arrived, flu season will be here before you know it, making this the best time to protect yourself with a flu vaccine.
Some of the benefits of getting a flu shot include:
Reduced chance of catching the flu
It is true that the flu vaccines are most effective when the vaccine serum is a close match for that season’s flu strains. However, when that is the case, individuals who receive the shot are 40% to 60% less likely to catch the flu at all.
Studies also show that the general population who receive flu vaccines tend to have less severe flu symptoms, and are sick for a shorter amount of time, than those who forgo the shot.
Flu shots are recommended for pregnant and postpartum women and their children
Are you pregnant? A postpartum mom? The mother of young children? Research indicates that flu shots help to protect pregnant women as well as postpartum moms. The vaccines are also beneficial for young children, and are perhaps even lifesaving, since children are more susceptible to the severe flu symptoms the vaccine helps to prevent.
Reduce flu-related hospitalizations
Typically, a healthy individual can kick the flu on his/her own due to healthy immune function. However, the elderly and young children, those with existing medical conditions or those who are overworked or fatigued are more likely to suffer flu symptoms or side-effects requiring hospitalization.
In addition to missing school and work, hospital visits are often scary and certainly disrupt the balanced rhythm of daily home life. The flu vaccine can help to keep you and your family at home, school and work this season – rather than in the hospital.
Speak to your doctor about your flu vaccination
Not sure if the flu vaccination is right to you? Contact your physician through your medical portal, via email or by phone. In most cases, s/he will recommend moving forward with the vaccine at their office or at your local pharmacy, many of which offer flu vaccines for free or a very nominal cost.
Also, in cases where the flu vaccine is given in two doses, it’s important to receive both shots in order to reap their full benefit. That being said, studies have shown that children who receive a partial vaccination (the first shot) but don’t receive the second dose still tend to have reduced instances of the flu and/or reduced side effects and symptoms if they do come down with a flu-related illness.
Have questions or want to hear more to determine whether or not the flu vaccine is right for you? Contact us here at Women’s Health Associates.