When the temperature cools down, you can enjoy many seasonal delights: pumpkin pie, falling leaves, hot cocoa, and the flu. You have been told that you need to get a yearly flu vaccine, but you may hesitate, partly because you know that the shot will not protect you from all strains of the virus. Even though the flu vaccine is not perfect, you should still get the shot each year.
If you are a young adult, you may think that you do not need to have the shot. While it's true that most deaths from the flu occur in people 65 and over, the CDC recommends that anyone six months and over is vaccinated each year with few exceptions. Remember that the recommended vaccine and the method of delivery change each year depending on the strains that are prevalent. What was recommended last year will not work for this year's strains. Although the flu can be deadly in some instances, most people just become ill and spread the virus to family members and coworkers. At best, you will be miserable and miss work. At worst, you could end up seriously ill and hospitalized.
For most people, the flu shot is safe. Although it is a myth that you will develop a light case of the flu after receiving the vaccine, you may have some muscle pain, develop a headache, or have a slight fever. A few people may have a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. If you develop breathing difficulties, hives, or an irregular heartbeat, you should seek immediate medical attention. Also, people who are allergic to eggs should never get the flu shot.
Sometimes people get the flu shot and still get the flu. As a result, people use anecdotal evidence to avoid the shot. However, getting the shot will probably reduce your chances of getting the flu this year by 50-60%, a significant benefit. The shot guarantees nothing but does improve your odds of having a healthy fall and winter season.
Except in rare instances, you should get the flu shot every year. Even if you are a healthy 25-year-old, the shot is worth it and is almost always covered by your insurance. You may experience minor side-effects, but, for the most part, the flu shot won't cause you problems. You may still get the flu, but your chances of remaining healthy are much better if you get the vaccination.