The age old debate of vaccinations is upon us again for the autumn and winter seasons. Should you vaccinate for the flu? By the end of this article you may have your answer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people above the age of six months should be vaccinated annually for influenza. Exceptions, however, include people who have life-threatening allergies to any of the ingredients in the shot, including gelatin and antibiotics, and anyone younger than six months. These vaccinations are approved for pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions, though if you are not feeling well after getting the vaccination, you should consult your doctor.
The seasonal influenza vaccination is a inactivated strand of the disease that builds up your immune system to fight off the actual disease if you come in contact with it. Unfortunately, the flu strands keep changing and evolving, so you need to get a new shot every year.
Side effects of the vaccine may include mild headaches, redness or swelling at the injection site, aches, soreness, and a low-grade fever. Rare side effects may include swelling around the eyes or lips, dizziness, racing heart, hives, difficulty breathing, and a high fever. A low-grade fever only affects 1-2 percent of users, and the more serious side effects are rarer than that.
It is a myth that you can catch the flu from a flu shot, because the virus has been killed. However, if you are exposed to the flu shortly after getting the vaccine, you may still catch it because the vaccine can take up to two weeks to start working.
It is recommended to get the flu shot in early fall, to maximize the amount of time you will be safe from the virus. The peak of flu season is December to January, but it can last to May in some cases.
On the other side of the debate, there have been 51 studies involving 260,000 children from 6-23 months that shows that the flu vaccine is anymore effective than a placebo. Also, one shot only protects you against one strain of the virus, however, there are dozens of different strains of the flu that you may catch. The vaccine may also lower your body’s immunity and give you immuno-suppression.
40,000 people die every year from influenza and another 20,000 are hospitalized. Decide if you think the flu shot works, or is worth it to get your vaccination this season.
For more information from the CDC click here
For information on why not to vaccinate click here