As flu season begins, it’s vital to protect yourself against the spread of infectious disease.

Getting vaccinated can play a huge role in protecting your health and the community.

Debating on whether to get a flu vaccination this year? Below are five reasons you should strongly consider it.

Medicine 1. Flu vaccinations reduce the chance of illness and spread of the contagious virus. 

The influenza virus changes every year and over time the immune system weakens. When flu season peaks, people become more susceptible to the transmittable illness and can contract infections of the nose, throat, and lungs.

When you receive the vaccine, it prevents you from getting sick – or can help keep your symptoms mild if you do become sick. 

2. Flu vaccinations can prevent hospitalization or death.

Influenza and pneumonia combined to register among the top ten U.S. causes of death in 2015 with more than 57,000 fatalities.

The influenza infection can attack immune systems differently,
so taking preventive measures can keep you from an ER visit. 
For example, a 2014 study showed that the vaccine decreased risk of pediatric intensive care unit visits by 74 percent. A 2016 study showed that people 50 years and older who were vaccinated reduced their hospitalization risk by 57 percent.

3. The vaccine can lower the risk of developing flu complications if you suffer from chronic health conditions.

Vaccination has been linked to decreased hospitalizations of people with diabetes (by 79 percent) and chronic lung disease (by 52 percent).

While most people who become sick have a relatively fast recovery time, others can develop a wide range of severe complications. Flu-related problems can include upper and lower respiratory tract infections, pneumonia, heart inflammation or multi-organ failure.

People with health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart or lung disease should receive the vaccine.

4. Flu can be more serious for pregnant women and developing babies.

As always, patients with any questions should consider consulting with their health care provider.

The flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in healthy women who are not pregnant, and flu-related fevers can also be harmful for a pregnant woman’s developing baby. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend getting a flu shot within any trimester of pregnancy, noting that it can protect both the expecting mother and the baby for several months after birth.

The agency has posted recently updated information on its website about pregnant women and influenza and about flu vaccine safety during pregnancy, which includes information about recommendations from professional organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

5. Flu vaccinations are easy!

Getting vaccinated is simple, harmless, and protects your health and the public. Be proactive and talk to your care provider about which vaccines are available and best for your health status. Early treatment is suggested before the flu season begins, and the CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccination by the end of October, if possible.

Related resources

Center for Disease Control and Prevention Seasonal Flu Information 

California Department of Public Health

Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health

World Health Organization

This content was authored and posted 12/26/17

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