Why Should I Get A Flu Shot? Here Are 7 Myth-Busting Reasons Why If You Can, You Should
Flu season is amongst us, and it’s so, so important to protect yourself from the virus. Nothing is worst than being in a crowd of people and someone sneezes and doesn’t cover their mouth. You can see all the germs landing everywhere, and even if you don’t inhale any of the yuckiness, the thought of it makes you a little queasy, and for good reason. A practical solution to avoiding the flu is getting a flu shot. There are some myths about the flu shot out there, but there are so many reasons you should get a flu shot, no matter what false things you may have heard. There are, of course, reasons why you may not be able to get a flu shot, such as if your immune system is compromised, but if you are able to do so, there's no reason not to.
A major reason you should get your flu shot this year? It's actually good for all humankind. Seriously. Herd immunity happens when a large percentage of the population has become immune to an infectious disease — aka, when most people who are able to get their flu shot, do. This provides indirect protection for folks who aren’t immune (and who weren't able to get a flu shot) because there are fewer people who are able to carry the virus. Herd immunity is one of the main reasons to get a flu shot this year and every year, but there are a ton of others out there.
So don’t believe the myths, folks. Getting the flu vaccine can protect yourself and others. If you’re not sure what is and isn’t true, check out the list below. You might be surprised what long-health myths are debunked.
1. You Still Need The Flu Shot Even If You’re Young And Healthy
Even though young, healthy people are less likely to have severe complications from getting the flu, the flu isn’t a pleasant experience, so why not avoid it if you can? If you really don’t think the flu shot will protect you, get it to protect the people in your life who are more vulnerable to flu complications like the elderly, the chronically ill, and small children. (See herd immunity, above.)
2. The Flu Shot Will Not Give You The Flu
It’s impossible for the flu shot to infect you with the flu because the vaccine does not contain a live flu virus. If you get sick after getting the flu shot, it’s most likely due to another infection the flu shot cannot prevent.
3. Pregnant Women Should Get the Flu Vaccine
The flu shot protects the mother and the baby from the flu virus, and because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises babies don’t get the flu shot during their first six months of life, the flu shot a mother gets when she’s pregnant, protects newborns.
4. It’s Better To Get The Flu Vaccine Than To Get The Flu
Getting a flu vaccine is much safer than getting the flu because the flu can come with serious health complications, which can sometimes be fatal. Unless you are allergic to a component of the shot, which is very rare, the shot is incredibly safe. Complaining about a sore arm for an hour or two is a million times better than getting the flu, so don't hem and haw about it.
5. You Need To Get A Flu Shot Every Year
Flu strains tend to mutate from year to year, and even if they don’t, the body’s immune system weakens over time. Each year, the flu vaccine is updated to be as effective as possible against the strain of flu that scientists predict will make the rounds this year. A yearly flu shot gives you body the best chance to fight off the infection.
6. It’s Not Too Late To Get The Flu Shot
As long as the flu virus is circulating, the vaccine will be effective. The flu can spread well into December and January, so while it’s a good idea to get a shot in October, you’re not too late if you haven’t gotten it yet.
7. The Flu Shot Can Still Make Flu Symptoms Less Intense
It is possible to get the flu even though you've gotten your flu shot. As the CDC notes, the shot's effectiveness "can vary from year to year and among different age and risk groups." But even if you wind up with the flu after getting your vaccine, you'll have a much better time of it than you would have if you didn't get your shot. Different studies have found that the vaccine does make your experience with the virus milder, including fewer hospitalizations and deaths.
There is a lot of misinformation out there about the flu shot. Getting a flu vaccine every year is the best way to protect yourself and others from this debilitating sickness.