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Don’t Skip the Flu Shot

The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu or at least reduce the effects of the symptoms.

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Don’t Skip the Flu Shot

Although many might balk at getting a flu shot, getting it sooner may prevent serious illness, hospitalization or death. (Tero Vesalainen/Dreamstime/TNS)

Although many might balk at getting a flu shot, getting it sooner may prevent serious illness, hospitalization or death. (Tero Vesalainen/Dreamstime/TNS)

TNS

Although many might balk at getting a flu shot, getting it sooner may prevent serious illness, hospitalization or death. (Tero Vesalainen/Dreamstime/TNS)

TNS

TNS

Although many might balk at getting a flu shot, getting it sooner may prevent serious illness, hospitalization or death. (Tero Vesalainen/Dreamstime/TNS)

Taylor Pitzl, Web Editor-in-Chief

Sneezing. Aches. Fevers. The flu is no fun. In spite of this, many people still forego getting a flu shot each winter. A flu shot greatly reduces the chance of contracting influenza and the severity of the symptoms. Last year, around 80 thousand people died of the flu the CDC said as reported by CNN., making it the worst flu season in recent history. Everyone who can, should get the flu vaccine to protect themselves, their family and those around them from coming down with this serious illness.

The flu vaccine can prevent the contraction of the flu 40 to 60 percent of the time according to the CDC. Multiple studies show that it reduces the severity of the symptoms in both children and adults even when it doesn’t prevent the flu,  such as a 2014 study from the Journal of Infectious Disease and a 2017 study by the CDC demonstrate. The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu and to reduce the longevity and seriousness of the symptoms. It is important to get vaccinated yearly for two reasons. First, the virus mutates each year and the vaccine is adjusted to better protect against it. Second, the protection against the virus wears off with time, so it is vital to get the vaccine each year to boost immunity according to Mayo Clinic.  It is necessary to be vaccinated again regardless if the vaccine was received last year or not. 

The flu is most pressing for young children, the elderly and those who have weakened immune systems; however, this is not an excuse to refuse a flu vaccine. Herd immunity is when enough people in a community are vaccinated that it protects those who can not receive the vaccine, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.  For the flu shot, this includes infants under six months of age and people with certain severe allergies, according to the CDC.  Therefore, even healthy individuals at low risk of having a serious response to the flu should still get vaccinated. It is especially crucial for those who are regularly around infants, young children and the elderly as they are the most likely to have serious complications due to the flu.

There is truly no substantial excuse not to get the flu shot. The CDC recommends that all people over six months of age receive the flu vaccine with very few exceptions. Now, even those with severe egg allergies are also advised to receive the vaccine, a deviation from the past when they used to be unable to get the shot. There is no risk of getting the flu from the vaccine, as a deactivated or “killed” version of the virus is used and there is also a very low risk of serious reactions to the vaccine according to the CDC. Flu vaccines are completely covered by insurance policies and can are available at primary care doctors or pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS.

Washing hands, disinfecting surfaces regularly and staying away from sick people can reduce the risk of contracting the flu, but the best way to prevent the flu is with the shot. The CDC recommends getting the flu shot from October to early November but says it’s still beneficial through December and even February. Get the flu vaccine as soon as possible to prevent the contraction and spread of influenza this winter.

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Taylor Pitzl, Web Editor-in-Chief

Favorite Show: The Office

Spirit Animal: Dolphin

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