At the office last week many of us lined up and were injected with the influenza (flu) vaccination specially formulated for the strains expected to be common this year. I’ve been getting flu shots since my military days when it was mandatory. In the past I worked at health care organizations where it was either mandated or highly recommended depending on your position.
Now, I get the vaccination just to avoid getting sick. But it’s good to revisit the facts about flu vaccinations and re-evaluate if I need it.
Who Should Get a Flu Vaccination
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all people six months of age or older should get the flu vaccine. This is especially recommended for people who generally get much sicker than the rest of us if they get the flu. This group includes young children, people age 65 or older, people with specific health conditions or a weakened immune system.
If you don’t fall into any of the above groups it’s still a good idea to get the shot. Not only will you protect yourself from catching the flu it will keep you from passing it on to anybody who would be at risk for a bad outcome.
We forget that the flu kills thousands of people every year and even more are sick enough to require hospitalization.
Who Should Not Get the Flu Vaccine
It should be obvious that if you’re already moderately to severely ill you shouldn’t get any vaccination including this one. Anyone with an allergy to eggs should not get the flu vaccination. Apparently, the vaccine may include egg protein.
Talk to your doctor before getting the vaccine if you have any of the following: a previous severe reaction, a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome or severe allergies other than eggs.
What’s the Risk from the Flu Vaccine?
It is extremely rare to have serious side effects from the inactivated flu vaccine (which I assume most of us are getting) . If we get symptoms most people will have soreness, redness, headaches, aches or itching. I just had soreness at the injection site for a couple of days. Of course, if you are concerned about symptoms contact your doctor.
It’s an individual decision but for me the benefits outweigh the risk. Do you get vaccinated for the flu and why?