Most of us grew up before influenza (flu) shots were recommended for nearly everyone. We lived a lot of years just fine without them. Sure, we got sick for about a week sometimes, but we lived through it and got right back on track with our daily lives.
So why make such a big deal now about flu shots?
We are in the last week or so before flu cases start presenting here in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths every season.”
In 2013-14 less than half of eligible people in the country obtained a flu vaccine. For those who were vaccinated, there were 7.2 million fewer people sick with the flu, 3.1 million fewer doctor/clinic visits for flu, and over 90,000 fewer hospitalizations. In particular, there were 55% fewer hospitalizations in people over age 65.
This year (2015-16) the strains of flu covered in the vaccine are even better matched to the dangerous strains expected to cause illness this year. So, this year’s effectiveness will be better than 2014-15.
There are some common beliefs about flu vaccines that are NOT TRUE. Two key myths are:
- The flu vaccine will make me get the flu
- The flu vaccine causes problems like autism
The TRUTH is:
- The flu vaccine is not a live form of the flu virus. It is a killed version that will stimulate your immune system to build resistance against the flu.
- Many studies have been done that consistently show vaccines are not the cause of the rising number of children with autism. (Unfortunately the real cause(s) have not been found).
You have some options when getting your flu vaccine.
- Regular vaccine in to your upper arm muscle.
- High dose vaccine in to your upper arm muscle (approved for people at or over age 65).
Note, there is a live attenuated nasal vaccine. This is for people ages 2-49. There are several reasons why people may not be able to take the nasal vaccine, however, so please talk with us at Meds MASH and/or talk with your doctor about whether this option is good for you.
Be sure to let your doctor and whoever gives your vaccine if you are allergic to EGGS. Note, this is not a reason to avoid vaccination. There is a vaccine you can get. You will be watched more closely for a few minutes after your vaccine.
For more information about flu vaccines, please contact us at www.medsmash.com.
For further application, check out my personal blog.
Photo credit: Public Health Image Library cdc.gov