Is the Flu Shot for You?


Flu shotAs much as you may not want summer to be coming to an end, there are signs everywhere indicating that it is. One of those signs is the one standing in front of your pharmacy announcing that the flu shot is now available.

The seasonal flu, or influenza, is a respiratory viral infection and is not the same as the common cold. The flu season usually begins around October, peaks around January or February, and can last through the spring.

There are three types of flu virus: A, B and C. Usually types A or B cause epidemics, with type A bringing more severe symptoms. According to WebMD:

  • 5% to 20% of the U.S. population will get the flu, on average, each year.
  • 200,000 (approx.) Americans are hospitalized each year because of problems with the illness.
  • 3,000 to 49,000 people die each year from flu-related causes in the U.S.
  • $10 billion+ is the average cost of hospitalizations and outpatient doctor visits related to the flu.

The flu shot (vaccine) is designed to help prevent you from getting the flu and passing it on to others. In the case that the influenza does get to you, having gotten the shot helps to diminish the severity of your illness. Like other vaccines, the flu shot must be given before the virus strikes so that your body can build up an immunity to it. Unlike with other vaccines, you should get the flu shot every year because the flu virus mutates from season to season, and in order to be protected, you need the most up-to-date formula.

It is recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months gets a flu shot, especially children, people over 50 and people with certain chronic health conditions. There are, however, a few scenarios in which people should not be vaccinated or should take precautions when doing so. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides detailed information on who should or should not get the flu shot.

If you are still unsure about whether or not you should get the vaccine this year, check out these statistics also provided by the CDC:

  • A 2014 study showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010–2012.
  • Another study published in the summer of 2016 showed that people 50 years and older who got a flu vaccine reduced their risk of getting hospitalized from flu by 57%.
  • Flu vaccination also has been shown to be associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes (79%) and chronic lung disease (52%).
  • Vaccination helps protect women during pregnancy and their babies for up to 6 months after they are born. One study showed that giving flu vaccine to pregnant women was 92%
    effective in preventing hospitalization of infants for flu.

Have you made your decision?

Everyone here at CT Sinus Center hopes you make it through the flu season happy and healthy. And for all of your allergy and sinus needs, call us at 860-BALLOON to schedule an appointment at one of our four conveniently-located offices.

(For more information on allergy– and sinus-related conditions and treatments, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.)

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