Why You Need a Flu Shot Every Year

In modern society, we tend to not worry too much about the flu. You may have heard, or even said, “I’ll be fine, I just have the flu.” But the fact is that influenza, or the flu, is a serious illness that’s sometimes fatal.

One of the reasons the flu can be dangerous is that there are many different types of influenza viruses, and they adapt rapidly, which can sometimes make treating them difficult. Getting an annual vaccination is one of the best ways to protect yourself.

You’re not only protecting yourself when you get vaccinated

In addition to being dangerous because of the many strains of flu and their rapidly changing nature, the flu can cause serious complications, especially for certain groups of people. Young children, those with compromised immune systems, and seniors are all at a greater risk of complication.

If you spend time with any of those who are at a greater risk of complications from the flu, you’re protecting them when you get your annual vaccination. Whether you live with someone who’s at risk, or you work with people who are, taking extra precautions protects them, too.

Because the flu is highly contagious, you’re even protecting people you come into casual contact with when you get a flu shot.

Two important reasons for an annual flu shot

You may be wondering why you need to get a vaccination every year. There are two main reasons.

First, the body’s immune system doesn’t respond as well over time. Getting a vaccination every year helps keep your immune system response at an optimal level.

Second, the adaptability and changing nature of the different strains of influenza means that the formulation of the vaccine is a little different each year. Scientists update the vaccine to meet the changes that have occured in the viruses.

When it’s especially important

There are some people who especially need to get an annual flu shot, and you may well be one of them. For people in any of the following categories, getting a flu shot is critical:

People with chronic health conditions
If you have any chronic health condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, you should get a flu shot. Studies show that getting a flu vaccination is associated with lower rates of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiac events, as well as lower rates of hospitalization among those with diabetes and chronic lung disease.

Pregnant women
If you’re pregnant, getting an annual flu shot can reduce your risk of respiratory infection by half. Additionally, vaccination can lower risk of being hospitalized because of the flu by 40%.

Getting a flu vaccination can also help protect your baby. Since the vaccine is not recommended for babies younger than six months, the protection your flu shot provides for your newborn is especially important.

Children
It’s important for you to get vaccinated, but it may be life-saving to make sure your child is vaccinated. A recent study showed that getting an annual flu shot significantly reduces the risk that a child will die from the flu.

If you haven’t already gotten your annual flu shot, book an appointment with us at Family Medical Specialists of Florida today. You can schedule your appointment online or by calling our office in Plant City. Getting your vaccination only takes a few minutes but provides important protection for you and your family.

 

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