You know that you’re supposed to get a flu shot every year, but maybe you don’t make it a huge priority. Some years, you might even skip it, because you’re worried about getting sick (more on that later) or you figure that you’re in good enough health that you don’t need one.
There are a lot of good reasons to get a flu shot every year, even if you don’t think you’re at high risk. It only takes one exposure to result in a case of influenza, which can potentially put you at risk of complications or hospitalization. Our providers at Cermak Immediate Care explain more about why now is the best time to get an annual flu shot.
Why you should get a flu shot
The flu is much more serious than you may realize. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting a flu shot protects you, even if you’re otherwise relatively young and healthy.
Studies have shown that people who didn’t get an annual flu shot were more likely to end up hospitalized and even in the intensive care unit compared to those who did get vaccinated.
Will the flu shot make me sick?
Many people avoid getting a flu shot because they fear that it will make them sick. While this concern is understandable, it’s important to know the facts.
Almost all flu shots contain a dead (inactivated) version of the virus. The only one that doesn’t is the variety that comes in a nasal shot, so be sure to avoid that version if you’re worried about feeling sick.
It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to become effective, so if you’re exposed to the virus before then, you can still contract the flu.
If you feel a little tired after getting a flu shot, just be sure to get extra rest and fluids. You may feel a bit more rundown than normal as your body makes antibodies against the flu after receiving a shot. Come in to see us if you’re still sick after more than a couple of days, and we may be able to provide antiviral medications.
People who are at extra high risk
Some people are at extra high risk for catching the flu if they’re exposed to it. These groups of people include:
- Children between 6 months and 5 years of age
- Pregnant people and up to 2 weeks after pregnancy
- People receiving treatment for cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, or other chronic medical conditions
- Anyone over age 65
- People under 18 who are taking aspirin therapy
- Anyone living in or working in an assisted living facility
- People with a body mass index (BMI) over 40
- American Indians or Native Alaskans
People with other chronic health conditions, such as asthma, also benefit from getting flu shots.
Symptoms of the flu
Symptoms most commonly associated with the flu include:
- Fever (not always present)
- Body aches
- Runny or stuffed-up nose
- Sore throat
- Diarrhea and vomiting (more common in children than adults)
The flu can make you feel miserable, even if you’re lucky enough to avoid complications or hospitalization.
If you want to protect yourself against the flu, the best time to get one is now. Contact our team at Cermak Immediate Care by phone or request an appointment online. We also take walk-ins, so an appointment isn’t necessary.