With flu season coming up, you’re probably hearing a lot about getting your vaccine. You’re also probably wondering if you need to get it in the first place. The short answer is yes – a flu shot is a great way to protect yourself and others from getting sick from the influenza virus. But if you need more convincing, here are a few great benefits of getting an early flu shot.
AFC Urgent Care North Bergen provides flu shots to any patient who wants one. Patients don’t need an appointment to receive a flu shot. Visit our center for a flu shot as well as treatment for illnesses this flu season.
Why You Should Get Vaccinated
The influenza virus is a very contagious and potentially devastating disease. The flu doesn’t affect everyone the same; for some, infection means just a few sniffles or muscle soreness. For others, it means hospitalization and even death. In fact, tens of thousands of people die each year from the flu or related conditions.
The flu virus evolves quickly, so each flu season is different from the one before. This means that even if you got vaccinated last season, you need to get the flu shot again this season.
Getting vaccinated against the flu will usually prevent you from getting sick at all. And if you do manage to get infected, you’ll have a lower risk of contracting related issues, like pneumonia. Overall, your chances of hospitalization or death are much lower after getting the flu shot.
How Vaccines Work
A vaccine contains inactive viruses. When injected into your body, your immune system works to defend against the virus (not knowing they’re inactive) and create antibodies. Then, if you ever catch the active version of the virus from school or work, your body already has the antibodies to get rid of it before it even has a chance to cause symptoms.
The vaccines that are available in the United States are all known as “quadrivalent.” This means that they are approved to protect against four different influenza viruses.
Who Should Get Vaccinated – and When?
Experts recommend the flu vaccine to everyone over the age of six months, especially the elderly. Vaccination is even more strongly encouraged to people who are at higher risk of experiencing flu-related complications.
Some members of the population are advised to forego the flu shot, but this depends on each individual. A person is rarely advised against getting vaccinated and mostly depends on age, current health, and allergies. However, because several types of vaccines have different ingredients, it’s important to talk to your doctor to see which one would be best for you.
Flu shots generally become available in September or October, though some of them come out as early as July. Children should get their flu shot as soon as it is available; they may need a booster a few weeks into the season, so getting the first shot early means more protection.
Adults should not get a flu shot early since effectiveness decreases over time. Pregnant women in their last trimester may also be approved for the shot since it can protect their infant before they are old enough to be vaccinated at six months.
Ready to get protected against influenza this season? Let the providers at AFC North Bergen help you and your family stay safe and healthy.