Think you don’t need a flu shot? Think again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends almost everyone ages 6 months and older get a flu shot. Here are 10 of the top reasons why you and your family should get a flu shot this year.
- Severe cases of influenza can lead to hospitalization—or worse. The CDC reports that between 3,000 and 49,000 people die from the flu annually, with roughly 85 percent of those occurring in people 65 or older.
- Flu vaccines reduced children’s risk of flu-related hospitalization by 74 percent, according to a 2014 study.
- Vaccines benefit pregnant women and their developing baby. Pregnant women who received a flu shot reduce their risk for flu-associated acute respiratory infection by about half. The flu vaccine protects babies up to four months after birth.
- Last year’s flu shot doesn’t count. Your body’s immune response from vaccination decreases overtime. To keep your immune system working against the virus, an annual vaccination is necessary. “This is because viruses are constantly changing,” said Bill Meadows, MD, Chief Medical Officer. “The virus that went around last year might not be the same as this year’s. Scientists tailor formulation each year to target the year’s most prevalent strain of the virus. Yearly vaccinations decrease your chances of getting this year’s flu virus.”
- For those with chronic health conditions, flu shots have been shown to reduce hospitalization among people with diabetes by 79 percent and chronic lung disease by 52 percent.
- The odds are in your favor. Getting vaccinated decreases your chances of getting the flu between 50 and 60 percent. And if you do still catch the flu, a vaccine will reduce the severity of symptoms.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. The flu can cause mild to severe illness. Flu spreads every year, however the timing, severity and length of the season varies from year to year. While the peak for influenza typically hits late December through March, the season can begin as early as October and last through May. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available.
“This year, our urgent care centers offer the Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine, which is designed to protect against four different strains of flu,” said Meadows. He also put a myth to bed: “No, you won’t catch the flu from vaccines. A flu vaccine is made one of two ways. Either the flu virus present in the vaccine is “inactivated” and no longer infectious, or there are no viruses present at all,” he explained.
Before having the flu shot, Meadows said it’s important to tell your provider if you have had an allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine, or if you have ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
Urgent Team centers now have flu shots available – and most insurances cover the flu shot at no cost. “If you don’t have insurance, flu shots are only $30 and no appointment is needed,” said Meadows.
For more information on flu or to find an Urgent Team center near you, visit www.UrgentTeam.com.
About Urgent Team
Urgent Team is one of the largest independent operators of urgent and family care centers in the Southeast. The Urgent Team Family of Centers provides quality and affordable family healthcare at 29 locations: Sherwood Urgent Care (seven centers throughout Arkansas); Baptist Health Urgent Care (two centers in Arkansas); Urgent Team (12 centers throughout Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee); and Physicians Care (eight locations in Tennessee). Urgent Team’s convenient, walk-in centers provide a comprehensive range of healthcare services including treatments for injuries and illnesses, occupational health and wellness care. Urgent Team’s company headquarters are in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit UrgentTeam.com