Flu flukes

It’s that time of the year again! Fall is finally here and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s pumpkin spice season, y’all. Unfortunately, it’s also the start of the flu season.

Did I just hear someone groan?

Anyway, if you’re anything like me, you’ve already come up with a thousand and one excuses as to why you shouldn’t get a flu shot. Excuses like, “I never get the flu so I don’t need a shot,” or “the flu shot just gives people the flu!”

Fortunately for me, I work with incredibly intelligent nurses that set me straight and informed me of the benefits of the flu shot. Fortunately for you, I’m here to share the knowledge. You’re welcome.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ll address your concerns by answering questions we are asked frequently at the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department.

“Can the flu shot give me the flu?”

The answer is no. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu shots contain an “inactivated” form of the virus and is therefore, not infectious. Although you can’t get the flu from the vaccine itself, you may experience redness or soreness around the injection site. Some even experience symptoms like: low-grade fever, headache, and muscle aches. This is your body’s natural immune response to the foreign substance that is the flu vaccine, not the onset of flu symptoms.

“Do I really need a flu shot every year?”

The answer to this question is yes. Even if the flu strains this year are the same as previous years, you still need a new shot every year. That’s because over time, your immunity declines. Because of this, the CDC recommends an annual flu shot for everyone older than 6 months old.

“Can’t my body build a natural immunity to the flu instead of getting the shot?”

Alright tough guy. Yes, your body can build a natural immunity to the flu on its own. In fact, we have cells and organs dedicated to this very job. However, it’s much more dangerous to take your chances with the flu. The flu can cause serious complications like hospitalization or death even among healthy adults and children. Risks are even greater for people with conditions such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes. There are far less risks to receiving a flu shot than exposing yourself to the flu virus.

There are many more reasons why you should get your flu shot, and I simply don’t have the time or print space to list them all. Fortunately, we have skilled nurses on staff willing and ready to answer your questions. You can contact them by calling the office at 304-265-1288, or by visiting our website at www.GTCHDWV.org for more information.

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