Why Get a Flu Shot?
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I never used to get the flu shot, but I recently turned 40 and lots of my friends are telling me now I should get one. I have two preschoolers, and they both get the shot from their pediatrician. It seems to me that if they're not going to bring it home from school, and I'm pretty healthy, I shouldn't need the shot. I'm not in any of the high-risk groups like the elderly or immunocompromised, so shouldn't I be okay without it? (If you couldn't guess, I'm really needle-phobic and do NOT want the shot!)
Here's one very good reason to get a shot: The flu is a very different condition than the common cold, and even the healthiest of people are significantly affected when they come down with the flu. Symptoms include high fever, sore throat, dry cough, and severe body aches. Symptoms last from several days to as long as a week. Every year, thousands of people die from flu and flu-related complications. You don't want the flu!
This year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends flu shots for almost everyone 6 months and older. In my experience, many patients who start out choosing not to get the vaccine line up early for their flu shot the following year after they have experienced their first bout of the flu.
I would encourage you to reconsider, especially given the fact that this year’s vaccination will include both the H1N1 strain that caused last year’s pandemic and two other strains likely to be in circulation. And although it won't help you get over your fear of needles, you should know that you cannot get the flu from the shot.
If you really just can't bear the thought of a shot, check with your doctor to see if the nasal mist version of the flu vaccine is right for you. Recent studies show that it may be even more effective in children than the injected vaccine. It is more expensive, and it's not suitable for all populations, so do ask your doctor first.
Video: Should You get the Flu Shot?
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