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Do I Really Need A Flu Shot?

Woman receiving a flu shot in her arm

If you have ever had the flu, you know it is a very unpleasant experience. As though the fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, and runny nose were not enough, many people develop complications. Flu complications may include sinus or ear infections, pneumonia, or sepsis when infection of the respiratory tract triggers an extreme inflammatory response. Thankfully, flu vaccination can help you protect yourself from influenza and potentially life-threatening effects.

Who Needs A Flu Shot?

If you are in good general health with a robust immune system, you may wonder if you really need a flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anyone six months of age or older should have an annual flu vaccination, with certain exceptions. Some types of vaccines are not recommended for people with certain health conditions, and, rarely, specific individuals should not have flu shots at all. This preventative health measure is particularly important for people at high risk for serious flu complications.

  • Different types of flu vaccinations are approved for people of different ages. Each person should have a flu shot appropriate to his or her age.
  • Pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions should also have flu shots.
  • Children younger than six months should have flu shots.
  • People with severe allergies to the flu vaccine or any of its ingredients should not have a flu shot.

Myths About Flu Shots

A Harvard Health article dispels common myths about the flu and vaccinations to prevent it, including the following:

The Flu Is Just A Bad Cold

Although it may cause cold-like symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, and coughing), influenza is a much more severe illness. Harvard Health reports that in the U.S. alone, 36,000 people die and 200,000 are hospitalized every year because of the flu.

A Flu Shot Can Make You Sick With Flu Symptoms

This statement is false. Flu vaccines are made from an inactivated virus that does not spread infection. It takes one or two weeks for protection to become active after a flu shot. People who come down with the flu after vaccination would have become ill in any case.

Healthy People Do Not Need Flu Shots

It is not only people with chronic health conditions who are at risk for the flu and its possible complications. Virtually anyone six months or older, including pregnant women, can benefit from an annual flu vaccination.

Getting A Flu Shot Is All You Need To Do To Protect Yourself From The Flu

In addition to being vaccinated, you should also take measures to protect yourself from the influenza virus, particularly at this time of year. Wash your hands often, avoid contact with people who have the flu, and see a doctor for antiviral medications if you were exposed to influenza before you were vaccinated. Our friendly agent can help ensure you have the right health insurance to get the proper medical care you need.