You may not think you need to get the influenza (flu) shot, especially if you are young and generally healthy or if you haven’t had flu in a few years. It is true that flu cases have gone down considerably because of all the precautions that have been implemented to protect people from COVID-19. However, the flu is still very much a threat, even though the precautions we take to protect ourselves from the coronavirus may also prevent the flu from spreading. While the two illnesses are completely different, they both pose a serious threat to people each and every year, especially the elderly and those with immune disorders or other health issues. It is advisable to get the vaccinations for to protect yourself from both flu and COVID-19.
Here are five reasons why you should get your flu shot this year.
Reduces Your Sick Days
Each year, 111 million lost workdays across the country are the result of people being treated at home or in the hospital for flu symptoms. This hurts employees who are stuck at home recovering from the illness and employers who lose productivity hours. Plus, it can take up to a few days to fully recover from the flu, meaning getting even further behind with work.
Saves Your Life
You may believe that the flu is harmless; after all, it has been around for as long as you can remember. That is a common myth. Every person reacts differently to illnesses, and the flu is no different. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized for serious complications from the flu.
Some of these complications include ear infections, sinus infections, bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening chronic illnesses. In some of the worst cases, people can die from the flu. So the next time you ask yourself if you should get the flu shot, and how long does the flu shot protect you, consider that every year you need to rebuild your immunity so getting the flu shot every year could save your life.
Most People Are Eligible
Anyone who is over the age of six months is eligible to get the flu shot and it is available at most primary care providers and at local pharmacies. There is also a flu shot that is specifically intended for those who are 65 and older. It allows this age group to get even better protection from the flu, especially since they may be more vulnerable than other age groups.
It Changes Each Year
Each year, the CDC may suggest adjustments to the flu shot based upon which strains of influenza are most likely to be active that year. However, your symptoms will be reduced regardless of what strain is currently active if you get the flu shot. You may not even get the flu at all when you’ve had the flu shot.
There is such a thing as natural herd immunity, this is when enough people have immunity either from having the infection or from vaccination that it reduces the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity. In the US, before herd immunity can take effect, millions of people have to first get sick or be vaccinated.
The flu can spread easily. You can be exposed when a person coughs, sneezes, or even simply speaks. The flu can also be contracted when you touch a surface with flu germs on it. Unfortunately, not everyone can get the vaccination as some people have medical conditions that prevent them from being able to get the shot. However, it is important that everyone else who is eligible to get the flu shot actually go ahead and get vaccinated as this helps protect those that are unable to get it as well as the person who receives the vaccine.
Schedule Your Flu Shot at a VNA Health Care Location Today
The answer to how long does the flu shot last is approximately six months. The best time to get it is in October, so you have some protection through the winter months when the flu is most active. If you have missed your flu shot, VNA encourages you to get it at any time during the winter as it will help protect you later in the season. You can contact VNA Health Care at (630) 593-7974 to find out more about the flu shot or to schedule an appointment.