Why Should I Get the Flu Shot (and Where Can I?)

As the temperature drops, so does our immune system, giving harmful germs the perfect environment to take over. The flu is more than a running nose and some sneezing; it can be life-threatening—especially for young children and the elderly. Since 2010, anywhere from 140,000 to 710,000 people were hospitalized from the flu, and anywhere from 12,000 to 56,000 people died from the flu. That’s why getting vaccinated is so important. Protect yourself and shield susceptible loved ones around you with a simple flu vaccination.

How Does it Work?

Most likely, you’ve experienced a vaccination in your life. That little pinprick sends less threatening germs into your body so your immune system can figure out how to defeat them. When your white blood cells know what kind of germs to look for, it can figure out how to kill them faster. This gives your body the chance to eliminate the disease before it can start.

Why Do I Have to Keep Getting the Vaccine?

Germs are tricky. They constantly change and evolve to bypass your immune system. Every year, scientists collect data and project the type of germ or strain that is going to affect the most amount of people. After they target the disease, they then make it into a vaccine to stop the germs in their tracks.

Even if you do not become infected, you can be a carrier for the disease. Your immune system may be strong, and fend off those nasty germs, but that doesn’t mean the germs aren’t inside you. You can unknowingly spread those bad germs to young kids or elderly grandparents. To prevent causing illnesses to those around you, knock out the germs with the vaccine.

Who Should Be Vaccinated?

Everyone who is older than 6 months is recommended to have the vaccination. For the 2017-2018 flu season, the CDC does not suggest using the nasal spray flu vaccine. Instead, you should opt for the regular inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). Talk with your doctor if you aren’t sure if you should get the vaccine.

When Should I Be Vaccinated?

The sooner the better. The flu season is here and it’s best to jump start on the virus before it becomes a threat. The vaccine doesn’t take effect immediately. Your body needs about 2 weeks before it can start defending you against the virus. You need the shot BEFORE you start showing symptoms of the flu. The vaccine doesn’t treat flu symptoms; it prevents the germs from multiplying in your body with antibodies.

Where Should I Get the Vaccine?

You can find the flu vaccine at numerous locations. Your local doctor, health facilities, pharmacies, even some schools and employers offer the vaccine. To see the locations closest to you, check out the vaccine locator.

The best part is that most health insurance and facilities offer the vaccine for very little money or for free.  Don’t suffer this season. Protect your health, and the health of your loved ones by taking a few minutes out of your day to get this simple shot.

If you’d like more information on the vaccine and it’s safety, read more from the CDC.

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