While we hate to admit it, flu season is creeping upon us.
In the winter of 2018, The Chicago Tribune reported that 80,000 Americans died of flu complications.
Although hydration, rest, and other remedies can help combat symptoms, are flu vaccinations the key to avoiding getting sick altogether?
It’s been scientifically proven that the flu vaccination helps reduce the risk of contracting the illness in ages 6 months and up, but many people cringe at the thought of needles or vaccinations as a whole.
Dr. Keith Ramsey is a Vidant Infectious Disease Physician and Medical Director of Infection Control. He says that there are many reasons people might be worried to get the flu shot, but that many are myths.
“Some folks think that the vaccine causes the flu, which it does not. It’s a killed vaccine. Some folks have had reactions in the past or felt bad, think they’ve got the flu and a week or two after they’ve got the vaccine. They know somebody that had a reaction to the vaccine. There’s a small percentage of people who don’t think they need the vaccine.” Ramsey also says that the flu vaccine is especially important for elderly people, diabetics, people with hypertension, lung disease, those who’ve received transplants or dialysis, and people with HIV.
If someone isn’t comfortable with the shot, there are other options like the nasal spray, which many U.S. schools have moved towards for nervous children.
A flu vaccine can take up to four weeks to be effective, which is why medical professionals recommend getting it earlier than the peak of flu season. They also suggest that pregnant women, elderly people, and children all receive the vaccine, because of compromised immune systems.
However, there are people who should avoid the flu shot or spray. These people are generally under the age of 6 months or have had Guillian-Barre syndrome (an illness that affects the central nervous system and can be caused by the flu shot) or any allergic reaction to the vaccination in the past. In these cases or if you’re unsure, it’s important to consult with a medical professional before getting vaccinated.
If a person is serious about getting vaccinated, they can visit a local pharmacy, health department, or physician to inquire about a flu vaccine.