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2021 Flu Season: Should I Get the Flu Shot? — Premier

2021 Flu Season: Should I Get the Flu Shot? — Premier

The flu is nothing to sneeze at. It's estimated that 200,000 people die each year from complications related to the virus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the flu results in 80,000 hospitalizations and 2.5 million doctor visits annually.

But how can you protect yourself from catching the flu?

Getting the flu shot.

Pneumonia and the flu are the two leading killers of children and adults in the United States every year. Flu season tends to begin in the fall. The Centers for Disease Control recommends a flu vaccine for everyone older than 6 months of age, or for those at high risk for flu complications.

The flu vaccine is produced from dead or weakened influenza viruses. The viruses are made in such a way that they can't cause infections in healthy people, but they're still strong enough to stimulate your immune system to produce antibodies. The antibodies then fight off the viruses if they enter your body.

The vaccine takes about two weeks to take effect, so people who get vaccinated in October should be protected most of the winter.

The flu vaccine is a preventive measure, so people who are vaccinated still can get sick. But the vaccines protect against the most common circulating strains of flu, and if you've been vaccinated, you're less likely to become seriously ill from the flu.

The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for everyone older than 6 months of age. This includes pregnant women, people who are at high risk for flu complications, and people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease.

There are a number of options for getting vaccinated, including:

  • Medical offices
  • Walk-in clinics
  • Pharmacies
  • Retail stores
  • Employer-based programs
  • Schools
  • Health-care organizations
  • Local health departments

Getting vaccinated is the single most important thing you can do to prevent the flu. Following are other benefits of getting a flu shot:

The flu vaccine is -

  • highly effective.
  • designed to prevent the flu in children and in adults.
  • Designed to protect against multiple flu viruses.
  • convenient.
  • Usually covered by insurance.
  • approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • safe to use.

The flu spreads quickly, and it's contagious. So, get your flu shot early and you will get the best protection this flu season.