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Convincing Reasons to Get Your Flu Shot

5 min read

By Emily Lockhart

Medically Reviewed by Patty Weasler, RN

Influenza might be just a minor 2-week annoyance for you. However, the flu causes more hospitalizations and deaths in children, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems compared to any other vaccine-preventable disease in North America.

For instance, during the 2019 – 2020 flu season, approximately 434 children died from influenza-related complications. While seniors, aged 65-years and older, had 13,673 deaths reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The flu shot vaccination is shown to reduce your chances of catching the flu. The effectiveness has varied year to year, in 2019-2020 it was 39-percent effective. Still need convincing? Here are 10 good reasons to get your annual flu shot…

Just About Everyone is Eligible For a Flu Shot

Thankfully, in North America most of us can get a flu shot free of charge. The CDC in the U.S. makes many flu shot clinics, as well as shots through your medical practitioner available free of charge. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of a free flu shot to protect yourself against influenza?

Those with certain allergies or conditions should NOT get the flu shot. Infants under 6-months and those with life-threatening allergies to one or more of the influenza vaccine ingredients should not get the flu shot. Talk to your doctor to see if you have any contraindications that would prevent you from the vaccine.

Suffer Fewer Sick Days From Work

You already have enough to worry about without having to suffer the stress of missed work days and finances due to the flu. Taking time off to recoup from the flu at home inevitably costs flu victims a dozen sick days a year—especially if you have children with flu that you must stay home and care for.

When you consider that influenza costs U.S. companies approximately $7 billion in lost productivity and annually, it’s worth getting a simple shot to protect your financial well-being.

Protects Elderly Loved Ones

Those over 65 are especially prone to the flu due to aging bodies with lower immunity (or ability to fight off illness).  The flu shot is provided in a custom version for those 65-years of age and over, which gives them even better protection against the flu.

However, the first step is immunizing the entire family to help protect any vulnerable seniors who are at the greatest risk of hospitalization for the flu.

Custom Made For Your Protection

Shockingly, influenza is the 8th-leading cause of death in the U.S. As mentioned, seniors are particularly at risk, but so are infants and those with compromised immune systems due to another health issue.

Luckily, seniors, infants, children, healthy adults, and those with low immunity are eligible for a custom flu shot that not only protects against that year’s flu strain, but also for that particular person (i.e., an infant with asthma) so the immune system creates the proper amount of flu-fighting antibodies.

You Get a Bigger Bang For Your Flu Shot

There are a lot of misnomers about the flu shot actually causing illness. That is not true. Although certain individuals can experience side effects from the flu shot vaccine—including swollen glands, headache, stuffy nose, muscle stiffness, and sore throat—these mild side effects only last a few days.

Compared to getting the full blown flu; getting the flu shot and experiencing a few mild side effects is worth it!

Protects Those With Weakened Immunity

Influenza can worsen chronic medical conditions – don’t put yourself or those in your family with compromised immune systems at risk of further health complications by skipping your flu shot and bringing illness into your home.

Particularly individuals with underlying medical conditions, such as cancer, asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, can become compromised if they catch a nasty bout of influenza.

Protects Children Who Can’t Be Immunized

Unfortunately, babies less than 6-months of age cannot get a flu shot. However, they are among the highest risk age group for flu-related hospitalization and death. This means that getting the rest of the family immunized against the flu will be their only protection.

This is why it’s wise for entire families—mom, dad, grandparents, and siblings with young infants in the family to get their flu shots.

The Earlier You Get Immunized—The Better!

Did you know that you increase your chances of getting the flu the longer you wait to get your flu shot? That’s why the sooner you get your flu vaccine—the better! Flu season begins in October and stretches all the way through May.

The CDC suggests getting your flu shot as soon as possible, either through your doctor or a flu shot clinic, as the body takes approximately 2 weeks after to build up the necessary antibodies to fight off flu germs.

Help Strengthen Society’s Immunity to Influenza

We don’t live in bubbles that protect us against germs. We either go to school, work, or daycare where there are plenty of germs and illnesses waiting to infect us with coughs, sneezes, and hand contact.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu shot to build up “herd immunity,” which means that the more of us that get immunized—the stronger we are as a society to germs. In essence, if we all get immunizations; the stronger we will be immune-wise collectively and the less likely we’ll be to spread the virus to others.

Getting Your Flu Shot Can Save Your Life

Many of us expect to deal with a nasty flu at least once a year, but it doesn’t have to be that way. For a healthy adult the flu might be a mild annoyance, but for a senior or infant with weakened immunity it may cause serious complications and result in hospitalization, a chronic illness, bacterial pneumonia, or even death.

So protect yourself, those you love, your co-workers, fellow students, and even strangers by getting your yearly flu shot.


Patty is a freelance health writer and nurse (BSN, CCRN). She has worked as a critical care nurse for over 10 years and loves educating people about their health. When she's not working, Patty enjoys any outdoor activity that she can do with her husband and three kids.



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