5 Reasons You Need To Get a Flu Shot This Year


WRITTEN BY: Craig Sturgill

UPDATED: OCTOBER 06, 2023 | 3 MIN READ

As we transition into the colder months, we’re also entering the season characterized by the prevalence of respiratory illnesses, including the flu. While some may perceive the flu as a mere inconvenience, its potential impact on health is significant. 

And with the concurrent circulation of other respiratory viruses like RSV and COVID-19, the importance of flu vaccination becomes even more pronounced. Here are five reasons you should get a flu shot this year.

1. The flu can be deadly

The flu, often mistaken as a mere seasonal ailment, carries with it a severity that can’t be understated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2022 flu season saw over 26 million cases of the flu. A staggering 290,000 of these cases resulted in hospitalizations. More alarmingly, flu-related illnesses claimed the lives of more than 19,000 people, including 154 pediatric fatalities.

2. The flu vaccine is safe and effective

Over the past 50 years, the flu vaccine has undergone rigorous testing and monitoring to ensure its safety and efficacy. Millions of people have been vaccinated safely; the vaccine’s track record speaks for itself. 

Adverse reactions are rare, and when they do occur, they’re typically mild, such as soreness at the injection site or a low-grade fever.

3. Everyone benefits from the flu shot

The flu doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, health, or lifestyle. Recognizing the universal threat posed by the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine.

4. The flu is more than just a “bad cold”

It’s a common misconception to equate the flu with a severe version of the common cold. While both are respiratory illnesses and share some overlapping symptoms, they are caused by different viruses and have distinct characteristics in terms of severity and potential complications.

The common cold typically manifests with symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, and a mild cough. While it can be bothersome, it rarely leads to serious health complications and usually resolves on its own within a week or two.

In contrast, the flu can hit much harder. Symptoms often include a sudden onset of fever, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, sore throat, and a more pronounced cough. The flu can also lead to severe complications, especially in vulnerable populations.

5. Multiple vaccination options available

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to getting your flu vaccine. There are multiple methods available, catering to different preferences and needs.

Flu shot injection

The most common method of receiving the flu vaccine is through an injection, often referred to simply as the “flu shot.” Administered with a needle, this vaccine is introduced directly into the arm muscle. 

Flu vaccine by jet injector

For those wary of needles, the jet injector offers an alternative. This medical device uses a high-pressure stream of fluid to deliver the vaccine, penetrating the skin without the use of a needle.

Nasal spray flu vaccine

The nasal spray vaccine, which is administered as a mist into the nostrils, offers an alternative to the flu shot. This method uses live but weakened flu viruses that can’t thrive or multiply in the lungs. It’s an option for healthy individuals between the ages of 2 and 49, excluding pregnant women. 

Each of these vaccination methods has undergone rigorous testing to ensure safety and efficacy. When deciding on the best method for you or your family, consult with a healthcare provider to get guidance on the most suitable type based on age, health status, and any potential allergies or contraindications.

FAQs

Can I get the flu from the flu vaccine?

No, you can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine. The flu shot contains either an inactivated virus or a single flu virus protein, both of which cannot cause the flu.

Some people might experience mild side effects like soreness at the injection site or a low-grade fever, but these aren’t symptoms of the flu and usually resolve on their own within a day or two.

When is the best time to get the flu shot?

The best time to get the flu shot is in the early fall, typically starting in September. To ensure your safety, get protected before the flu season peaks.

However, if you miss getting it early, it’s still beneficial to get the shot anytime during the flu season, which generally starts in November and can extend until March.

Can I get the flu shot if I have an egg allergy?

Yes, you can still get the flu shot if you have an egg allergy. While some flu vaccines are made using eggs, there are egg-free versions available. It’s essential to inform your healthcare provider about your allergy so they can administer the appropriate vaccine for you.

How does the flu differ from the common cold?

While both the flu and the common cold are respiratory illnesses, they’re caused by different viruses and have distinct symptoms. 

The flu usually has more severe symptoms like high fever, muscle aches, and fatigue, whereas the common cold has milder symptoms like a runny nose and sneezing. 

Additionally, the flu can lead to serious complications, and the common cold typically resolves on its own within a week.

Can I get the flu shot at the same time as other vaccines, like the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, you can receive the flu shot concurrently with other vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine. Both the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend co-administering vaccines when appropriate. It’s always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider when planning to get multiple vaccines.

How much is the flu shot without insurance?

The cost of a flu shot without insurance can vary depending on where you get it. Here are some approximate costs based on the search results:

  • At major pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS, the cost of a flu shot can range from $30 to $40. 
  • Some retail clinics and urgent care centers might charge between $20 to $45.
  • Some supermarkets and other retail locations might offer flu shots at promotional prices or even for free during certain times of the year.

Get health insurance today

Health insurance covers more than your annual flu vaccine. Use our online quote tool today to make sure you’re covered.

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