Why Getting Your Annual Flu Shot is Important
Millions of people get the flu each year, and many people are hospitalized or experience life-threatening complications. One of the best ways to protect yourself from contracting the virus is to get your annual flu shot.
“There’s an often circulated myth that you can actually get the flu from the vaccine,” says Dr. Kyle Knabb of Dopson Family Medical Center. “But while a flu shot can give you some little fevers and aches for a day or two, it cannot actually give you the flu.”
Studies have shown that flu vaccines reduce the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% of the population and can help to prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
How does the flu shot work?
The seasonal flu vaccination spurs the body to develop antibodies for the purpose of preventing the illness about two weeks after administering. Traditional flu vaccines protect against the three common influenza viruses:
- Influenza A (H1N1) Virus
- Influenza A (H3N2) Virus
- Influenza B Virus
There are many other different types of vaccines that target a variety of flu viruses. It’s important to schedule an appointment to talk with your doctor and find out which option will work best for you.
Who should get a flu shot?
Most individuals ages 6 months or older should receive the annual flu shot.
Some groups are at a higher risk of problems with the flu and should always get vaccinated. Those groups can include:
- Children ages 6 months to 5 years old.
- People with chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes.
- People with heart disease and those who have had a stroke.
- Adults 65 and older.
- Pregnant women.
- People who have cancer.
There are also exceptions to who should receive a flu vaccination. If in doubt, ask your doctor!
When should you get a flu shot?
It’s best to get your flu shot before the season starts – which is usually around the end of October. If you can’t get your flu shot around this time, then it’s still beneficial to get one through January or later.
You can schedule an appointment at Dopson Family Medical Center by calling 904-259-7815 to discuss your needs when it comes to preventing the flu this season. Dopson Family Medical Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Our sister facility, Baker Rural Health Clinic, also accepts appointments and walk-in patients Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. You can call the clinic at (904) 653-4700 if you have any questions.