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Should I get the flu shot?

By Guide September 29, 2014 - 2:23pm
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My mother insists that I should vaccinate my whole family with the flu shot every Fall. I have mixed feelings about it? What should I do? My doctor recommends it and offers it, but what are the risks if I do? What are the risks if I don't? Please offer me some further insight so that I can make a decision.

Thank you!

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Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Kristen and thanks for your very timely question!


Flu viruses spread mainly through tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. If you and your family members are around other people during the flu season you are highly likely to be exposed. 

The flu vaccine does not guarantee a person won't get the flu, but is the best preventive protection available. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control shows that those who get the vaccine are 60% less likely to need treatment for the flu by a healthcare provider. Other benefits including reduced time spent being ill, reduced antibiotic use, reduced time lost from work and avoiding the most serious ramifications of the flu - hospitalization and death.

Flu vaccinations are especially recommended for those with chronic health conditions, including older adults, as well as for young children. If you have children, you may want to take into account how often they, and you, are exposed to other children, in making your decision.

The down sides are that there is usually a fee to have the shot and there may be side effects, including soreness at the injection site, headaches, nausea and more. In some cases, there have been reports of people developing serious illness and even of deaths occurring as a reaction to having the shot.

The US Department of Health and Human Services offers a comprehensive website, updated each year for that season's flu strains, which provides more detailed information, including advice for pregnant women. You can find that site here: http://www.flu.gov/

Let me know if this answers your question and what you decide. Having the flu is absolutely miserable and I hope your family can avoid it.



September 29, 2014 - 5:20pm
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