As we enter January, the flu season is officially upon us. The cold weather brings out more cases of the influenza virus which features symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, fever, runny nose, and fatigue. In addition to washing your hands, a flu shot is the best way to avoid getting the flu this winter. According to the Western Connecticut Health Network, there are several important benefits from getting a yearly flu vaccine. They include:
Reason 1: To Protect Your Own Health
The flu is a viral illness that can cause fever, chills, coughing, a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. And sometimes the flu leads to serious complications (such as pneumonia), hospitalization, or even death. The flu vaccine reduces your risk of becoming ill.
Reason 2: To Cut Down on Sick Days
In the U.S., the flu is responsible for nearly 17 million missed workdays each flu season. If you’re employed, the flu vaccine helps decrease sick days and lost work output. If you’re a student, it helps reduce missed classes and lost academic productivity.
Reason 3: To Protect Those Around You
By reducing your own chance of catching and spreading the flu virus, you’re helping protect others as well. Some people are particularly vulnerable to serious flu-related problems. They include babies and young children, older adults, and people with certain health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and chronic lung disease. When you get the flu vaccine, you’re reducing the risk for your family, friends, and neighbors.
“In addition to washing your hands, a flu shot is the best way to avoid getting the flu this winter.”
If you have not gotten your flu shot already, don’t worry! It is not too late to receive one. You can contact your primary care provider to ask about getting a flu shot or you can check Connecticut’s Department of Public Health’s website to see if there is a flu clinic near you. For more information on the 2017-2018 flu season, take a look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.
This post was adapted from an article on the Western Connecticut Health Network.