Each year we experience the dreaded flu season and are presented with the opportunity to get the flu vaccine. There are countless reasons why this vaccine can protect you and others, so in this blog, we’re going to explain just what those reasons are along with other relevant flu facts.
How Can the Flu Vaccine Benefit You?
- The most obvious benefit is that getting the vaccine prevents millions from getting sick with the flu which also prevents you from having to visit the doctor.
- Not only can it prevent you from being sick in general, but it also reduces the risk of flu-related hospitalizations.
- When a child gets the flu vaccine, it significantly reduces a child’s risk of dying from the flu.
- Individuals with chronic health conditions should get the flu vaccine in order to prevent worsening illnesses.
- It protects others around you, especially those who are more vulnerable to illnesses.
- The flu vaccine protects women during and after pregnancy. According to a study done in 2018, getting a flu shot reduces a pregnant women’s risk of being hospitalized with the flu by about 40%.
Is the Vaccine Effective Against All Flu Viruses?
Depending on the vaccine, they’re designed to protect against a few influenza viruses (usually 3-4). Other viruses that cause flu-like symptoms are not protected against with the flu vaccine.
Why Is the Flu Vaccine Important with COVID-19?
While the flu vaccine doesn’t prevent you from getting COVID-19, it will reduce the number of flu illnesses which means fewer hospitalizations and deaths. If we protect ourselves and others from the flu, we’re conserving the scarce medical resources for those being hospitalized with COVID-19.
Are There Any Factors that Alter the Effectiveness?
Every flu season is different so how well the vaccine works varies each year and from person to person. There are two main factors that go into the effectiveness of the flu vaccine:
- Characteristics of the person getting vaccinated, such as their health and age
- The strain of the flu spreading in comparison to how the flu vaccine is designed and how well they match up
What Does This Mean for Older People?
Adults ages 65 and older have naturally weaker immune systems, so this makes it of even greater importance that they get their flu vaccine. It can protect against more serious outcomes like hospitalization and death. For older individuals, hospitalization can mark the beginning of serious health declines, like losing the ability to be completely independent.
If you haven’t gotten your flu vaccine, now’s a great time! If you have any more questions about how it can be beneficial to you or your loved ones, contact us and we’d be happy to share more information!