6 reasons you should not delay getting your flu shot

Robert M. Wah, MD
Past President
American Medical Association
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It’s that time of year—holiday lights and celebrations seem to go hand-in-hand with sniffles, coughing and fatigue. But there’s a way to protect yourself, your family and your holiday season: Get a flu shot. With National Influenza Vaccination Week coming up, Dec. 7-13, there’s no better time to get protected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine. If you or your children haven’t gotten the flu vaccine yet, here are six reasons why you should get it as soon as possible:

  1. Avoid getting sick. Getting a simple shot could spare you days of lost time at work and feeling ill, and protects those around you. If you do get the flu, the vaccine will generally make your illness milder. The benefits of the vaccine are numerous.
  2. Prevent hospitalization and death. During the last flu season, tens of thousands were hospitalized for the flu, and thousands, on average, die from the flu each year. Meanwhile, data from the CDC show that vaccination reduced the risk for medical visits related to the flu by more than 50 percent.
  3. Protect your loved ones. The upcoming holiday season will mean lots of time with family and friends—what could be worse than passing along the flu to them? Don’t have any regrets about spreading the flu going into the new year. Young children and aging or sick loved ones are the most vulnerable, so make sure they also receive the vaccine.
  4. Enjoy your holiday festivities. Think of it this way—getting vaccinated against the flu could mean the difference between attending your child’s holiday play or being stuck in bed. Don’t miss the gatherings with friends and family that come with the season.
  5. Put your mind at ease. The flu vaccine is perfectly safe with very minimal side effects. The most common side effects are mild, such as a sore arm at the site of the shot, and the effects last only a day or two. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide full protection, so the sooner you get it, the better.
  6. It’s easy. Visit your family physician or pediatrician or find an alternate place near you by using the CDC’s Flu Vaccine Finder. Getting the shot itself takes only minutes.

There are no excuses. The flu is easily preventable if we’re protected. Get the vaccine, and urge those you know to get vaccinated, too.

Find all the resources you need on the CDC’s influenza Web page.

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Mar 22, 2017
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