The flu is often disregarded as a common seasonal virus like a cold. However, influenza is unlike many other seasonal viruses because of its ability to cause serious and sometimes even life-threatening complications. Our experts share four reasons to get your flu shot this year:
- You can slow the spread of the flu. Influenza is a highly contagious, airborne disease that can spread from coughing, sneezing or direct contact with those carrying the virus. When you receive the flu vaccine, your body builds up antibodies against the virus. By getting vaccinated each year, it can prevent you from catching the flu.
- You can reduce the risk of more serious consequences of the flu. The flu vaccine protects you against certain strains of the virus. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that if you do catch the flu after you have been vaccinated, your illness may be milder. This can help reduce the number of serious consequences from the flu, like hospitalizations or life-threatening conditions.
- You can “slow the leak.” The CDC described diseases with vaccinations like a boat with a slow leak. When nothing is done, the boat will likely sink. If multiple passengers on the boat bail, the boat has a better chance to stay dry. However, the CDC points out that even if the boat can stay dry, once bailers throw away their buckets the leak will continue and fill the boat with water again. When you get vaccinated, you are helping to continue the protection and “slow the leak.”
- You can help to protect your community. When you get your flu vaccine, you are helping to protect your community. “Herd immunity” is a term used to describe how vaccines help to protect not just you, but also your community. When you get vaccinated you can help protect high-risk groups like seniors, infants, and pregnant woman.
Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have regarding the flu vaccine. Or visit us in our Occupational Medicine department where community members can receive a flu shot as a walk in. Crittenton Hospital participates with most insurance plans so in most instances we can charge your insurance provider for the service, or you may pay the $25 fee at the time of the visit.
You can learn more at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.