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5 Reasons to get a Flu Shot this Season

5 Reasons to get a Flu Shot this Season

The flu (influenza) is a contagious illness that is caused by different strains of the flu virus. Flu season runs from October to May. That is when people are most likely to get the flu. Influenza often causes symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, and fatigue. Other symptoms might resemble those of a bad cold, such as a sore throat, a runny nose, coughing, or a headache. Some people may experience vomiting or diarrhea.
  1. The flu can cause complications for people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, or heart problems. People who are 65 or older, those with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women are also at greater risk for complications, which can even be life-threatening. Thousands of people die from the flu each year, and even more, are hospitalized because of complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older are vaccinated against the flu each year.
  2. Getting a flu shot every year can reduce the chance that you will become infected with the flu virus. There are many different strains of the flu virus, which change from year to year. Each year, a new flu vaccine is developed to prevent infection by the most common strains of the flu. That is why everyone needs to have a flu vaccine every year. Getting vaccinated can protect you against infection by the three or four most common strains, although the vaccine is not always 100% effective. Getting the flu vaccine before the end of October is recommended.
  3. The flu vaccine is available as an injection (a flu shot) or a nasal spray. The nasal spray may be an option for people between 2 and 49 years old, but you should ask your doctor whether it is right for you. Children younger than 8 years old might need two doses of the vaccine, given four weeks apart. Most other people only need one dose. A high-dose flu vaccine is recommended for people age 65 or older. It takes two weeks after vaccination for full protection against the flu to develop.  Even after being vaccinated, there is a chance of getting the flu, but your symptoms might be milder.
  4. You cannot become infected with the flu just by having a flu shot. However, some people might experience an allergy or another adverse reaction. Minor reactions, such as redness, soreness, or swelling at the site of the injection, might occur. Some people report having mild flu-like symptoms for a few days, as they are beginning to develop antibodies against the flu virus.
  5. The Flu vaccine is covered by many health plans. Regardless of your insurance, it is likely that the flu shot will be covered at either free or low cost to you. Ask your Managed Care Plan provider or call Care Alliance Health Center to schedule an appointment.

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