Opinion – Flu shot or not?

It seems like every year we have the same arguments about the flu shot. It gives you the flu, or it doesn’t. It’s useless, or it’s priceless, and on and on. Here are the facts about the flu vaccine and what it means for students.

The flu vaccine does not give you the flu. The virus they inject is dead, which means it cannot replicate inside your body and cause the flu, but your body still recognizes it and has an immune response to it. The immune response is usually mild and involves aching at the injection site, maybe some swelling, headaches, nausea and occasionally, a low fever. I would definitely take those side effects before risking the flu.

It is true that the vaccine is not always effective every year. This is because scientists have to gauge very early which strain of flu will develop. However, flu vaccines have a high success rate. According to Flu.gov, you are 60 percent less likely to need treatment for the flu if you have had the flu shot than if you chose to opt out. This means if you do develop flu-like symptoms, they may be milder than they would have if you had not been vaccinated.

It is never too late to get a flu shot, but it is recommended to be vaccinated in the early fall season. Flu season usually peaks in January or February.

Everyone six months and older should get the flu shot. There are a multitude of options, including a nasal spray and a needle that is much smaller for those who are afraid of needles.

However, there are some who should not get the flu shot. If you are severely allergic to eggs or have had severe reactions to the flu vaccine before, then you should talk to your doctor about your options. If you have a fever, then you should wait until your symptoms are gone to be vaccinated.

The flu is dangerous. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) records that anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 people die from the flu every year. About 90 percent of those people were age 65 or older.

So what does this mean for you? Though the flu is more dangerous for people age 65 and older, how many people of that age group do you interact with on a daily or weekly basis? Getting the flu shot is not just about protecting yourself from a week out of classes, work and events, but also protecting your loved ones.

Flu shots are available in many places around Mankato. Chances are that your insurance covers the cost of the flu shot. If you do not have insurance, then the price may vary depending on the location.

I got the flu shot this year. Though I did not want to and my arm was sore for a couple of days, since I have reviewed the facts it is clear to me that getting the flu shot is much more comfortable than being down and out with the flu.

Sources: Flu.gov, Livescience.com, The Huffington Post

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