10 reasons why you should get a flu shot this year
By: Patrick D. Sura, MD
Chief Medical Officer and Emergency Medicine Physician
Amery Hospital & Clinic
Why get a flu shot? Because getting an annual flu shot is the best way to protect yourself (and others) from seasonal influenza, otherwise known as the flu.
Influenza can be a very serious viral infection that can lead to medical complications including pneumonia, hospitalization or even death. Everyone 6 months and older should get a yearly flu vaccination.
Why should you get a flu shot today? Because the earlier you protect yourself, the better.
While most people think flu season hits in November or December, it can begin as early as October and stick around as late as May. Also, doctors agree that the immunity gained from your vaccination isn’t instant. It actually takes roughly two weeks to develop – but it often takes the flu less than two days to take hold. You can protect yourself and others by practicing social distancing and wearing masks that cover your mouth and nose while in public or at gatherings as this decreases the risk of spreading all respiratory viruses.
So, since we can’t be certain when the flu will strike, getting vaccinated as soon as the season’s vaccine becomes available is a good move.
But if you’re still wondering whether it’s worth getting a flu shot this year, here are 10 more reasons to get vaccinated sooner rather than later.
1. Getting a flu shot is easy
You can get your flu shot at one of our clinics in Amery, Clear Lake, Luck or Turtle Lake. All you need to do is make a flu shot appointment – which you can do online at healthpartners.com/care/appointments or by calling 715-268-8000. This helps us make getting your flu shot convenient, fast and safe – especially as COVID-19 lingers in our communities.
2. The flu shot is often free
How much does a flu shot cost? For many, flu shots are free. Many insurance plans – including HealthPartners – cover flu shots 100 percent.
If you don’t have insurance, check with your clinic for your exact cost. At HealthPartners and Amery Hospital & Clinic, your flu shot will cost $50 without insurance.
Many are surprised to learn how serious flu symptoms can get when left untreated. If you come down with serious flu complications, a trip to the emergency room will cost much more than a simple flu shot would have.
3. A flu shot can’t give you the flu
The flu vaccine contains inactive germs, which means it’s impossible to get the flu from your shot. Despite this fact, flu shot myths still exist.
Side effects from getting a flu shot include achy muscles, usually at the injection site, and every once in a while a slightly elevated temperature. Bottom line, you won’t get sick even though you might experience minor side effects, such as a sore shoulder.
4. Flu shots can protect you from heart trouble
If you face heart disease or have a history of heart problems, the flu vaccination may reduce your risk of a future cardiac event. A 2013 study
from the Journal of The American Medical Association demonstrated that getting the flu shot was associated with reduced risk of stroke, heart attack or worse.
5. You’ll cut your flu risk in half
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports
getting your flu vaccine effectively cuts your chances of contracting seasonal influenza by up to 60 percent.
Because flu strains change and evolve over time, the vaccine won’t ever be perfect. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth getting vaccinated. Ask anyone who has had a serious bout of flu in recent years, and they’ll tell you that any protection from the flu is better than no protection at all.
6. You’ll drastically reduce your child’s risks
The CDC reports the flu vaccine reduces children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit admission by 74 percent. Your best bet at keeping your kids out of the hospital in a flu-related incident is getting them in for a flu shot now.
7. You can pass the flu to others without getting sick
The flu can be especially dangerous for the elderly, young children, or those with compromised immune systems.
Sure, if you skip the flu vaccine there’s a chance you might not get sick. But that doesn’t mean flu germs won’t pass from you via your phone, keys, door handles and hands to loved ones or total strangers who may not share your strong immune system.
Getting the flu shot trains your immune system to fight these germs, eliminating the risk of you carrying it to loved ones unknowingly.
8. The flu shot is a marvel of modern science
In the era of COVID-19, our world is experiencing something we haven’t experienced in more than 100 years. When the 1918 flu pandemic struck, it negatively impacted millions of people globally and changed the course of World War I. But it also led to the development of the flu vaccine – which was approved for widespread use in 1945.
Of course, plagues, pandemics and diseases have led to the creation of dozens of modern vaccinations that keep us safe from now-preventable diseases like tetanus, polio, hepatitis B, measles and more.
The flu shot is a marvel of modern science protecting millions from widespread flu outbreaks each year.
9. The flu is serious
Most of us have had the flu and come out the other side rattled, but OK. Like any other disease, the flu evolves. Building up immunity to one strain doesn’t mean you’re safe from the many new and changing strains floating around.
And unfortunately, hospitalization and deaths do occur each year. While this is rare, it still happens. Why not get the flu vaccine and give yourself, and others around you, the best shot at staying healthy?
10. Last year’s flu vaccine won’t protect you this year
Each year, the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) perform rigorous testing to determine which strains of influenza pose the highest threats globally.
So, one of the most important things you should know about the flu vaccine is that it changes every year based on this research. Which means even if you had your shot last year, you will need one this year, too.
Today is a great day for a flu shot
Flu shots for this flu season are available now. While getting your flu shot early is best, you can still get vaccinated throughout the flu season. Late protection is better than no protection. All you need to do is set up an appointment time that works for you.
Schedule your flu shot today online at healthpartners.com/care/appointments or by calling 715-268-8000