So…You Don’t Want a Flu Shot
by Joe Moore, PAC
Immunizations are one tool we have to try to keep you healthy. Terrible diseases of the past such as Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Polio, Lockjaw, and others are hardly ever seen anymore due to the success of immunization programs. So we know that immunizations work very well. They are a way to fool your immune system into thinking it is being invaded and have it make the appropriate antibodies to fight off the illness. Then, if you do come into contact with the infection- your body can zap it out before you get sick.
Influenza – or the seasonal flu – really is a bad bug to get. It is not the same as having a cold, although some colds can be very bad and put you in the hospital. The chance of getting very sick and having complications from flu is greater than a regular cold, so it is fortunate we have the yearly flu vaccines to help us out.
If you are looking for a 100% guarantee that the flu shot won’t “bother” you or make you “sick”- we of course cannot guarantee that. The risk of a serious reaction to a flu shot is very small. Some people will develop mild flu-like symptoms such as a low-grade fever, body aches, and soreness at the injection site. The flu vaccine is not a live virus and cannot give you the true flu.
The important thing is that it will decrease your chance of getting the flu and decrease your chance of complications of the flu or ending up in the hospital with dehydration, or pneumonia. The last year of records regarding flu shows that 34,000 people died from the flu and complications in 2018-2019.
Nothing in life is perfect, so yes it is true the flu shot may only protect you from the flu less than 100% of the time. From a betting standpoint, even 50/50 are not that bad odds. This year, with COVID, it is even more important to consider improving your odds to not get the flu, since the symptoms are similar, you may have trouble getting seen for flu symptoms as most medical offices will not let you in unless you have a negative COVID test first.
It is always your choice, you are the boss of your body. But we would urge you to consider re-thinking reasons why you don’t get a flu shot, and maybe this year give it strong consideration.
For more information – go to www.cdc.gov/flu/season/protect-your-health.html
Joe Moore, PAC
Chickahominy Family Practice
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