Why Getting a Flu Shot this Fall Matters
Each fall, doctors recommend that everyone over the age of six months gets a flu shot. Flu shots are considered preventive medicine and are available at any family clinic, family health center, or pediatric clinic.
Flu season runs from October through May, and in 2019, the peak flu months were February and March. Utah was among the first states to see high levels of flu activity last winter. This past history helps doctors predict subsequent year flu outbreaks. Physicians also look at Australian’s flu season (typically June through August during Australia’s winter season) as an indicator of U.S. flu outbreaks. This year, Australia has experienced a record number of flu cases, and the outbreak began earlier than usual.
Despite physician recommendations, many individuals go without the protection a flu shot can provide. Common concerns and thoughts about the flu vaccine are as follows:
1. A person can get the flu from the flu shot.
This is a myth. The viruses from the flu in the flu shot are killed so it is not possible to get the flu from the vaccine. The CDC states that getting vaccinated is, “the best way to prevent seasonal flu.” The protection it provides recipients is greater than any other form of flu prevention.
2. It is not necessary to get a flu shot every year.
Again, this is another myth. Flu viruses mutate and change necessitating the flu vaccine to be changed as well. The components of the flu vaccine are different each year as doctors and scientists attempt to predict and counteract which outbreaks will occur in a given year. As a result, it is vital to get the vaccine annually.
3. It is too late to get the flu vaccine in January.
While October is the best time to get the flu vaccine, it is not too late to get it in January. However, you should be aware that it can take up to two weeks for the flu shot to be effective.
4. A person can get the flu even if he gets the flu shot, so what’s the point?
Yes, it is true that a person can get the flu after being vaccinated; however, the severity of the flu is considerably less for a vaccinated person. While someone who is not vaccinated could be hospitalized or even die from the flu, rarely does this occur in a vaccinated person. It is always advantageous to be vaccinated.
5. The flu shot has side effects.
Mild side effects such as soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site can occur. Between one and two percent of people who get the vaccine get a fever.
If these or other concerns are keeping you from getting your flu shot this season, don’t hesitate to reach out to a family doctor or family physician in St. George, UT. They can answer any other questions or concerns you may have about the flu vaccine.
Callahan Clinic is one family health center in St. George serving all of Southern Utah residents. We are happy to address your vaccination concerns as well as administer the flu shot right here in our office. Run, don’t walk, to our nearby St. George family physicians to get your flu shot as soon as possible. Protect yourself and your family from this potentially dangerous virus outbreak this flu season.