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Top 9 Reasons to Get Your Flu Shot

September 15, 2020

It’s that time of the year again – the “should I or shouldn’t I get the flu shot” time. And the answer is yes, if you can get the flu shot, you should. Here are the top 9 reasons why:

  1. The flu is not benign, it’s serious. Every year, thousands of people die from sepsis that resulted from influenza. Thousands of others become seriously ill, left with lasting health issues. As for those who recover – many say they can’t believe how sick they felt. And it can take weeks to start feeling normal again. The flu shot reduces this risk.
  2. Last year’s flu shot won’t protect you. If you did get a flu shot last year, it won’t work for this year. Influenza vaccines lose effectiveness over time, which is why they are timed to be given just before flu season begins. Also, every year, the flu strains that circulate are different. Last year’s flu shot fought the flu strains that were around then.
  3. You won’t miss that long-planned vacation or have to call in sick at work. Influenza can hit out of the blue when you least expect it. If you’re dreaming of that beach get-away or are working on a big project at work, don’t let the flu keep you home.
  4. Symptoms like a cough, fever, and shortness of breath could be signs of influenza or COVID-19. If you have not had the flu vaccine and you become sick enough to see your doctor or go to the emergency room, you will have to be tested for both, something that takes up time and resources. If you had the flu vaccine, the doctors will know that the flu is unlikely. You also could get both infections – even at the same time – if you don’t get the flu shot.
  5. People with chronic illnesses, like heart disease, have a lower risk of a cardiac event, such as angina or a heart attack if they have the flu shot. It can also reduce the risk of worsening COPD.
  6. The cost of the flu shot is much, much lower than the cost of a hospital or ICU stay for flu-related complications. Most insurances will cover a flu vaccine. But even for those who must pay, anywhere from $20 to $70 according to GoodRx, it is still significantly cheaper than the thousands of dollars that can result from a hospital stay, as well as any additional costs in post-hospital care.
  7. Your flu shot can protect others who can’t get them. Visiting a family member who just had a baby? Protect that little one from the flu with your vaccination. Live with someone who has a weakened immune system and can’t get the vaccine? Protect them with your own vaccine. These are people who are at highest risk of being very seriously ill from the flu.
  8. Pregnant women help protect their baby by having a flu shot. When a pregnant woman gets the flu, it can cause complications for the baby, including birth defects. A flu vaccine reduces this risk.
  9. Even if you do get the flu, it usually won’t be as severe. The seasonal flu vaccine doesn’t have a 100% success rate at preventing the flu. But, when people who did receive the flu vaccine do still get it, it’s usually a much milder version, less likely to cause complications like sepsis.

 

If you or someone you know does get the flu, watch for signs of worsening. It can lead to sepsis.

To learn more about sepsis and conditions that can increase your risk of sepsis, visit the Sepsis and… library.