Get more facts on the flu or schedule a flu shot at one of U of U Health's convenient neighborhood health centers.
It’s that time of the year again—flu season. Nobody wants it, lots of people get it. Here are some things to know about the flu shot and how it can help keep influenza from knocking you down.
- An annual flu vaccination is currently the best defense against getting hit with shivering, achiness, and other unpleasantries that often come with the flu.
- It’s 40 to 60 percent effective for most of the population, but only nine percent effective among older adults. That’s why more people should get the flu shot—to help protect those who are most vulnerable.
- The flu virus changes every year. That’s why a new vaccine is created just before every flu season by the CDC. There is some guesswork involved in predicting new strains, which is why it’s not 100 percent effective. To help protect yourself with each new flu season, you need a new shot every year.
- The shot itself does not give you the flu. This is a common myth. There can be side effects such as achiness and a runny nose. But they are temporary, whereas influenza lasts 10 to 14 days.
- After you get a flu shot, it takes two weeks for your body to develop its defenses. Don’t wait. The earlier you get the shot, the better for you and everyone around you.
- Pregnant women, children younger than five, people over 64, and those who have long-term health conditions have the highest risk of serious illness when contracting the flu. It is especially important that these groups get vaccinated. However, flu shots are not given to children under six months old.
- The more consecutive years you get the flu shot, the better your immunity against influenza becomes overall.
- There is a small amount of preservatives and additives in the flu shot. These can create side effects in those who are allergic. Talk to your physician if you suspect you have these types of allergies. If you have egg allergies, avoid the flu shot, but get the nasal spray vaccination if it’s available to you.
- Because flu vaccinations aren’t perfect, be sure to wash your hands, try to avoid crowds, cough/sneeze into your upper sleeve, and don’t go out in public if you become sick.
- The government is not trying to inject you with mind-controlling nanobots. Yes, the Internet is full of crazy theories about vaccinations that stroke fear, but they’re never based on fact or rationality. Talk to a healthcare professional—or several—if you have concerns.