Don't let media reports or naysayers dissuade you. The flu vaccine is still the best protection against the flu. The time is NOW to get vaccinated.
Why Haven't You Gotten Your Flu Shot Yet?
Are you confused by reports that last year's vaccine was not completely effective? Are you wondering if getting vaccinated this year is worth the effort?
In short: Getting vaccinated is our best defense against influenza – and is absolutely worth it.
"This year's flu vaccines have been updated to provide a better match for the current circulating viruses," says Bridget McEnrue, director of Infection Prevention at Doylestown Health. Even in seasons where the circulating flu strain has drifted, the vaccination may lead to milder symptoms or protect against other strains that occur later in the season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Who Should Get a Flu Vaccine?
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated each year for the flu. "Studies have shown vaccine prevents the risk of illness by 60 percent," says Bridget. To highlight the importance of vaccination, the CDC established an annual National Influenza Vaccination Week every December.
Flu activity usually peaks in the U.S. between December and February. The flu season is generally considered to run from early October to as late as May.
Bridget reassures doubters that the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. "The most common side effects are soreness, redness and/or swelling at the injection site, fever, and muscle aches. These symptoms are not the flu and are usually short lived." Once you receive your vaccination, it takes about two weeks for the body's antibodies that protect you from the flu to fully develop.
Getting a flu vaccine is easier than ever, with multiple locations offering the service. Contact your family doctor or your child's pediatrician. If you don't have a primary physician, you can get a flu vaccine elsewhere, such as your local health department, urgent care clinic, school, college health center, or through your workplace. Many pharmacies are now offering flu shots (and it may be covered by your insurance.)
Remember, vaccination still offers the best protection from the flu and may reduce the likelihood of severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death. If not for you, please get vaccinated to protect your friends, family and loved ones.
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About Primary Care
Our board-certified Doylestown Health Primary Care physicians provide preventive healthcare, healthy lifestyle education and compassionate treatment of illness for all members of the family. As a partner in health, we strive to meet the unique needs of each patient through routine preventive care, referrals to medical specialists if needed and patient advocacy if the care of a specialist becomes necessary.