This time of year you can never be too careful when it comes to staying healthy. The CDC estimates that the average adult catches two to three colds each year and this time of year it also means that peoples chances of catching the flu are very high.
Flu season. Those two words are enough to make a person shutter. At its peak, it’s estimated by the CDC that about 20% of Americans come down with the flu and 200,000 people end up visiting hospitals with flu related medical complications.
If you’re one of those thousands of people that comes down with the flu every year and ends up in the hospital, one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your immune system is to get a flu shot. You may have heard from some folks you know that a flu shot can actually give you the flu. On the contrary, a flu shot is made up with an inactive form of the flu virus and those components won’t make you sick.
While some people make cast them aside, there are actually many benefits of getting flu shot:
- No flu: let’s be honest: you visit an urgent care or some other medical office to get a flu shot in order to avoid getting the flu. It’s true that a flu shot is not an automatic cure-all when it comes to preventing the flu, but it’s still one of the most effective ways to keep yourself from catching the flu virus, which can wreak havoc on your immune system.
- Protection: another one of the best benefits you can gain from visiting an urgent care and getting yourself a flu shot is to protect yourself and also those around you. Believe it or not there are some folks who cannot get vaccinated with flu shots, which makes them even more vulnerable to catching it.
- Less time in the hospital: visiting an urgent care to get a flu shot has been shown to help reduce the risk of complications that arise with catching the flu and also helps reduce hospitalization of groups like senior citizens, people with chronic conditions, children and others who are more vulnerable to getting sick.
- Less sick time: if you’ve ever had the flu, you know that it can be very debilitating and make you very uncomfortable. The whole point of getting a flu shot is to reduce your chances of getting sick and at least making flu symptoms more mild if you happen to catch it.
While there are many benefits to visiting your local urgent care facility and getting a flu shot, there are few risks involved with flu shots that you should know about.
For one thing, you can still get sick. Again, the flu shot is not a 100% guarantee of not getting the flu and once you get a flu shot it usually takes your immune system a little bit of time to develop some immunity to that year’s flu strain.
There is also the chance that a flu shot you get in a particular year may not be as effective. Why is that? The answer is simple. Before the height of flu season, scientists usually choose specific strains to be included in that season’s flu vaccine. What sometimes happens is the actual strains of illness are more potent than the vaccine which renders it less effective. There is also a chance that your body might have a negative reaction to a flu shot, but you can usually tell within a few minutes or even hours if that’s going to happen.
So if you’ve thought it over and determined that getting a flu shot as what you want to do, make sure you get one before the height of flu season. That means you should probably get one in late September or mid October at the latest.
More than 3 million Americans visit urgent care facilities each week for a variety of everyday medical issues, including getting flu shots. The last thing you want is to wait too long and leave yourself open to infection when everyone around you is catching it.