Not getting the flu shot? Reasons to reconsider

Flu shots are beneficial for everyone – not just the person who receives them.

Flu shots are beneficial for everyone – not just the person who receives them. Sure, it’s a little annoying. Your arm is sore and some people may feel a little unwell for a couple hours, but it is absolutely worth it.

I admit – I didn’t used to get vaccinations because I was raised in a home where that didn’t happen regularly if at all. However, knowing what I know about ‘herd immunization’, I now understand that everyone who is able to should get a flu shot.

The concept of herd immunity or ‘community immunity’ is smart. It is a means of protecting the portion of a population who can’t receive vaccinations, and therefore cannot build immunity to a particular disease.

That means that some people will catch the flu and not be able to fight it. They will often have more severe symptoms and longer-lasting bouts of illness. People who have immune disorders, organ transplants and even those with egg allergies are within the population of people who cannot receive immunizations, specifically flu shots.

It’s coming to be that time of the year where the flu runs rampant. Nobody wants to be sick at home, feeling miserable and being miserable. Flu shots don’t guarantee you won’t get the flu, but they will help your body fight off an infection quicker. They will help your body fight off the strain and will make the chances of sharing your sickness much slimmer.

Some people flat out refuse immunizations, usually either because they believe they are dangerous or that they will make you sick.

There are adults who refuse to get vaccinated because they believe they can handle a cold or flu. There are parents who refuse to immunize their children because they don’t ‘trust’ the vaccines, and are under the impression that immunizations can actually cause illnesses.

So let’s set a few things straight.

First of all, getting a flu shot will not give you the flu. This has been proven, and there are a number of creditable web sites that will tell you this, as well as any pharmacist or doctor.

Secondly, it will not render you completely immune to the disease. Yes, there is a chance that one can get the flu after receiving a flu shot. However, the symptoms will be less severe and not debilitating.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, getting vaccines benefits everyone in your community. It helps to stop the spread of viruses and helps protect people who are not able to receive the preventative shots.

I’d like to take a step back to the myth that ‘flu shots will give you the flu’. This is impossible because vaccines use dead strains of illnesses simply so your body can recognize what the disease looks like and prepare antibodies to fight it.

Some people will swear up and down that it was ‘that darn flu shot’ that got them sick – and completely forget that they interact with tons of people per day and any number of those people could have passed on a bug.

People often misinterpret the side effects from a flu shot. Usually, it’s only a sore arm or muscle. Previously, before the vaccine was in a way reinvented, some people felt mild cold symptoms. Also, this is cold and flu season. Things are going around. If someone gets sick after a shot, they don’t stop to consider that they were likely in a doctors’ office or pharmacy, surrounded by sick people.

Flu shots should be done every year. They are beneficial for the person who receives the shot, elderly people who will have a tougher time fighting infection, small children and babies. Those populations will likely get much sicker than the average person, and therefore need to be protected.

Flu shots are usually free now, too. Vaccines have saved countless lives and prevented more deaths than any other treatment available.

The flu shot is safe for pregnancies, and there are studies available to prove this point. This protects the mother and in turn, the child.

Just be sure to let a doctor know beforehand if you are pregnant or think you might be.

A flu shot will stimulate a person’s body so that they can develop and use the proper antibody to fight the infection. A body has a way of knowing if it has fought an infection prior or not, and this makes the recovery time a little bit faster. Vaccines give your body a chance to develop the antibody for later, without the nasty discomfort of actually having the flu.

You are still vulnerable for a few days after a flu shot, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Herd immunity is extremely important, and if that doesn’t matter to you, self-preservation ought to be motivation enough.

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com

 

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