Thursday, October 9, 2014

Flu Shots for the Family: Separating Flu Shot Myths from Facts

Disclosure: Special thanks to CVS / CVS Minute Clinic for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. 

It's that time of year again! Time for your flu shot!

The Flu Shot is a Must-Do for our family. We get our flu shots every year, and luckily, we have never been hit with the flu in our family. Thanks to our nearby CVS Minute Clinic, we can pop in for the flu mist. It's affordable and convenient, leaving no excuse to not be vaccinated against the flu. Frankly, I don't understand folks that refuse this vaccination, and usually I suggest they read up on the history of pandemic flu

Let's look into some myths about the flu shot and counter them with facts. 

Myth: There's no reason to bother getting a flu shot.
Fact: Not getting a flu shot could impact your family, friends, co-workers and others around you.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the flu shot for people, including school-age children, who want to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with the flu or transmitting it to others.
Vaccination is also recommended for the following higher-risk groups:
  • Children age 6 months up to their 19th birthday
  • Pregnant women
  • People age 50 years and older
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
    • a. Health care workers
    • b. Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
    • c. Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months old (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
The Flu Virus
Myth: Influenza isn't that serious. It's just a bad cold.
Fact: Influenza can have serious results.
  • Influenza is a contagious disease of the respiratory tract (nose, throat and lungs) that can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia and the worsening of chronic conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.
  • Its symptoms, which can disrupt your work and social plans for up to 2 weeks, can include fever, headaches, extreme tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.
  • Each year in the U.S. roughly 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 die from the flu and its complications.

Myth: I'll never get the flu. 
Fact: Influenza strains changes each year.
  • Even if you were immune to influenza strains circulating in the past, you may not be immune to new strains that emerge this season.
  • The best way to help protect yourself from new influenza strains is to get vaccinated.

Myth: I don't get the shot because you can get the flu from the shot. 
Fact: Flu shots can't give you the flu.
Injectable flu vaccines are made from influenza viruses that have been killed, and a killed virus cannot give you the flu.
Myth: It's too late to get the flu shot.
Fact: You can still protect yourself after autumn.
Although October through December are the recommended months for vaccination, since that's when viruses begin to circulate, a flu shot later in the winter can still help protect you and your loved ones from the flu.
Myth: Lots of people are allergic to the vaccination. 
Fact: Flu vaccines are safe for most people.
  • However, the influenza vaccine is not appropriate for those who have had a severe allergic reaction to eggs or to a previous flu vaccination.
  • Vaccination may not be appropriate if you have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome.
  • Talk to your health care professional if you have any questions or concerns.

The fact is that the flu shot will lower your risk of getting the flu virus. So head to your local CVS Minute Clinic today, and get your flu shot! CVS Minute Clinics are open 7 days a week, no appointment is necessary and most insurance is accepted. No excuses!

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