Yes, the flu shot works and we strongly recommend getting it
Every flu season, many people do not get the flu shot because they think it will actually give them the illness. Not only is this not true, but it allows the flu to spread to others. Whenever you get a vaccine, your body mounts an immune response to produce antibodies to defend itself in case it contracts that illness in the future. Yes, you might have a mild reaction to the flu shot, but that is 100 times better than getting the flu itself. For your own health and the health of those around you, it’s very important to get vaccinated, every year.
Who should get a flu shot?
Everyone over the age of 6 months should get the flu shot, with very few exceptions. People who should not get the flu shot include the following:
- Babies younger than 6 months (too young)
- People with severe, life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine
Flu remains a major killer
Did you know that in a severe flu year, approximately 650,000 people can die worldwide, and even in a mild year, 300,000 can die?* Here in the U.S., the CDC estimates that the flu typically kills 12,000 people in mild years and 56,000 in moderately severe ones.**
To minimize your risk of flu—wash your hands
No vaccine is ever 100% perfect, so to minimize your risk of getting the flu and passing it on to others, make a habit of washing your hands thoroughly, multiple times a day. Also, it’s a good idea to limit your contact with the people around you when you or they are sick.
5 best ways to fight the flu once you have it
- Drink fluids. The hard work your body is doing to fight the flu can lead to dehydration, so you should drink 1 cup of water or other liquid every hour, avoiding caffeine and alcohol.
- Sit and sleep in an elevated position, rather than lying flat. Lying flat collapses your lungs so that you can’t cough as efficiently, trapping bacteria in your respiratory tract. If the virus destroys enough cells in your bronchial tubes, this can lead to life-threatening pneumonia.
- Take Tamiflu (an antiviral drug), particularly if you are pregnant, immunocompromised, in the hospital or at high risk of complications of the flu.
- Rest. It might be hard, but try to rest much as you can.
- Let in fresh air and sunlight into your room. Natural air ventilation dilutes the concentration of flu germs by exchanging stale air with fresh, possibly twice as much as fans do.
For more information on the flu, check out these blogs
- Is It A Cold Or The Flu? How To Tell The Difference.
- Yes, You Really Should Still Get A Flu Shot
- Fighting The Flu
- Do Vaccinations Cause Autism? NO, And Here’s Why
Worried that you might have the flu? Come see us.
If you think you have the flu, please call (914) 232-1919 or come in to one of our Westchester Health locations as soon as possible. We’ll test you for the flu and if you do have it, start treatment right away before it gets worse. We’ll also review with you the best ways to take care of yourself while you’re fighting the illness. To find the Westchester Health office closest to you, click here or call (914) 232-1919. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.
By Westchester Health, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners