Often mistaken for the common cold, the flu is a viral respiratory infection that produces a manageable illness for most healthy people, but can prove dangerous or deadly for vulnerable segments of the population.
Because the viruses that cause influenza constantly mutate, developing effective vaccines is often a matter of prediction and statistical projection. The time it takes to manufacture vaccines in sufficient quantities is also long enough for a flu strain to change, or for another strain to gain dominance. Despite this, vaccination remains the best way to prevent infection and to protect those around you.
The team at Bayview General Medicine is ready to help you with information and inoculation. The more you know, the easier it is to understand the most important benefits behind your annual flu shot.
You may not get sick
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that vaccine programs keep millions of Americans from catching the flu, over 7 million people annually. Nearly 4 million medical visits were avoided, reducing seasonal strain on the health care system. Fewer people are hospitalized and thousands of patient deaths are avoided.
You’re protected if you have chronic health conditions
Catching the flu, which is highly contagious, can be a serious issue for people with preexisting conditions, such as heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or diabetes. Vaccination reduces the risk of further cardiac events in those previously affected. Vaccinated people with diabetes or chronic lung conditions sidestep urgent care more often.
You’re less likely to be hospitalized
Flu vaccination means the chances of you ending up in hospital due to flu-related complications are lower. Vaccines could prevent over 100,000 hospitalizations every year. This holds true for patients of all ages. Studies show that children are less likely to need pediatric intensive care, and adult admissions could be reduced as much as 82%.
If you get sick, your illness is routine
Sometimes, you’ll get infected with a flu virus even though you’ve been vaccinated. This isn’t a complete failure of the vaccine system. Your chances of a serious case of influenza are lower than if you weren’t vaccinated. You also fall under the reduced hospitalization statistics. You simply won’t be as sick as you would have been if you skipped your vaccine.
You’re protecting others
Perhaps the best reason for getting the flu shot is that you’re helping others. If you don’t catch the flu, you can’t spread it. Even if your risk of complications is low or your bouts of flu are mild, you have the potential of infecting family members and friends who are more vulnerable. Babies and grandparents naturally benefit from your choice to have the vaccine.
The best time to get the flu shot is ahead of flu season, usually in October, but there’s no wrong time to get the shot, particularly if there’s an outbreak in your community. Contact the flu shot specialists at Bayview General Medicine to find out more. You can contact the office by phone or online. Don’t wait until it’s too late.