The Pulse

Why Get the Flu Shot?

Posted by SFSH on September 30, 2019

South Dakota has brilliant seasons. Bright springs, hot summers, crisp autumns and cold winters. But with all the variety and extremity that we can experience in our state, there’s a season that can get swept under the rug – the flu season. Influenza is a very common and very contagious virus. The good news is that it’s preventable with modern vaccines. The flu shot is the best way of reducing your risk of catching or transmitting the virus.

Before the flu spreads this season, make sure you’re well-versed on why you should get the flu shot.

The Flu is Dangerous

The flu can be a very dangerous virus. The CDC estimated that last year the flu caused between 37.4 million and 42.9 million illnesses in the United States. Between 531,000 and 647,000 people were hospitalized, and 36,400 to 61,200 deaths from the flu were estimated. The flu can affect people differently, but most may experience these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Chills

You can learn more about flu symptoms here.

The Flu Season is Long

According to the CDC, last year’s flu season, 2018-2019, was the longest in a decade. It stretched a whole 21 weeks, running from November into April. A typical flu season will last about 13 weeks. While the severity of last year’s season was low, a longer season makes it easier to contract. Get protected for the whole season, regardless of how short or long it is.

The Flu Shot is Effective

Recent studies show that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by 40-60 percent among the overall population. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. The flu shot is made from an inactivated virus that cannot transmit infection.

The Flu is Persistent

Some of you might be asking, “When should I get the flu shot?” It’s important to get a flu vaccine before the peak season in your community. It usually takes two weeks after the vaccination for the antibodies to develop through your body. The CDC recommends that you get vaccinated by the end of October.

For optimal protection it’s also recommended that you get a flu shot annually. If you received a shot last year, you won’t have adequate protection for this year’s season. Not only do our body’s immune responses to the vaccine gradually decline, but flu viruses are constantly changing. Every year, the strains in the vaccine are evaluated and adjusted for the current need.

Starting Oct. 1, Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital Urgent Care will be offering flu shots. Be sure to stop in early and fight against this common illness.

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