By Patch Regional Editor Scott Bernarde
I have to make a confession.
I haven't had a flu shot in about 10 years, and probably have only had two my entire life.
Oh, I've been scolded about it, for sure. My wife, kids, doctor, and even a co-worker have all told me to do the deal.
Here's why I haven't:
I just don't get the flu that often — or at least, I'm able to fight off the symptoms when I do — and the last time I got a shot I had the worst flu of my life. Of course, I blamed my weeklong trip to flu hell on the shot.
Now, I know I should get a shot (I'm not shy of needles, in
case you're wondering), and maybe I will this year. There are plenty of
reasons to do so.
The Centers for Disease Control says everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot, and that with the unpredictability of the virus, it's already a good idea to get a shot. Influenza in the U.S. peaks in the middle of the winter, but outbreaks can start as early as October.
The flu is most serious for the elderly and the very young, but the CDC points out the groups of people who should — definitely — get a flu shot include:
- Kids under 6 months to 4 years.
- 50 years old and older (Yikes, that's me now).
- Have chronic disorders of the lungs, heart, kidney, diabetes and immunity system.
- Are or will be pregnant.
- Are significantly overweight (BMI of 40 or more).
- And the list is even longer. See it here.
Flu.gov says that people who are vaccinated are 60 percent less likely to need treatment for the flu.
According to a report in USA Today,
there are more flu-shot options this year, including the
new quadrivalant vaccine, which protects against four strains.
Typically, flu shots protect against the three most-common strains.
It's also easy to find a place to get a shot at pharmacies, health departments and doctors offices.
What do you think? Should I get the shot, or roll the dice another year? Share your insight on why you get the shot every year in the comments.