It is that time of year. Walk into any store and you will start to see people sniffling and coughing as the weather starts to change to colder temperatures. While our bodies need some time to adjust to the colder weather, it’s important to start thinking about more serious sicknesses like the flu and when to get a flu shot. While the flu doesn’t seem to create widespread panic like the Zika or Ebola viruses, the flu is listed as one of the Top 10 Killers in the United States every year. However, many people think they can just tough it out and avoid getting a flu shot each year. An illness like the flu virus, however, can put you out of commission for days, maybe even weeks. Catching the flu is costly to you, your employer and often your whole family.
Over the past few years, the influenza vaccine has prevented millions of flu cases and tens of thousands of related hospitalizations, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to Harvard School of Public Health, 20 to 30 percent of people who carry the influenza virus never experience flulike symptoms. Yet it’s still contagious.
Getting a flu shot is your best bet at protecting yourself and your family this year. The CDC recommends that everyone get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Here are some important reasons why you should get a flu shot today.
Flu shots prevent heart attacks
Recent studies show that flu shots actually reduce heart attack risks in high risk patients. The flu causes inflammation which can cause the plaque in your arteries to break apart and create a blood clot which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Getting a flu shot can boost your immune system so it fights off inflammation that could lead to a heart attack, something far more serious than the flu.
Smartphones spread the flu virus
Smartphones have plastic surfaces that viruses love to attach to and multiple. How often do you check your smartphone throughout the day and how often do you hold it up to your face? Every time you touch your phone then touch someone or something else, you have most likely spread the flu virus. How many times a day do you clean your phone? Here are some tips to avoid spreading the flu virus using your smartphone but the only surefire way to prevent continual contamination is really to get a flu shot.
New year, new flu virus
The flu virus changes and adapts every year so the main strain of the virus this year is completely different from last year’s strain. The antibodies that developed from last year’s vaccination may not be able to fight against this year’s strain. Research has continued to show that resistance to the flu decreases each year which is why getting a flu shot each year is crucial.
The flu affects both young and old
If you regularly come into contact with infants, toddlers, adults over 65 or anyone with a compromised immune system, it is your responsibility to get a flu shot to prevent the spread of this virus. These groups of people are most susceptible to the flu virus. For you the flu virus might seem to be just an inconvenient sickness for a few weeks, for these vulnerable groups it could be life threatening. If you have coworkers or family members that fall into this group and you plan to see them this winter, please consider the effect of not getting a flu shot. It’s impact is beyond your own health.
Flu shots are easy and accessible
While this year, the flu nasal spray is no longer available because it was found ineffective, the actual flu shot has been proven over and over to be the most effective option at protecting people from the flu virus each year. Don’t have time to make an appointment for your regular doctor? Stop by your local Santa Fe urgent care center for a quick and easy flu shot. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of a flu shot but even if you have to pay out of pocket, most cost around $20. Considering how much money you could lose by missing out on work for weeks, a flu vaccine is a great insurance policy for your health this winter.
Flu shots save you money
$7 billion is lost on sick days for the flu each year. So if you are running a business, sick days are a considerable loss of productivity and cash flow. If you are an employee, you are losing your hard earned sick days which could better be used for emergencies or worse for your paid time off vacations. And if you are self employed, good luck getting someone to cover for you on the days you are down with the flu. You will feel the financial effect the most. Getting a flu shot is all around cost effective; saving you both time and money.
You don’t get the flu
A common myth is that you can get the flu from the flu vaccine. The reality is that it takes one to two weeks for the vaccine to take effect in your body. So if someone happens to get sick immediately after getting a vaccine then that means they have already been exposed to the virus. Even in some cases where the vaccine was unable to prevent the flu, it always lessened the severity of symptoms and recovery time.
Why you should get the flu shot today
The CDC recommends that everyone get a flu vaccine by the end of October. The flu vaccine is a preventative measure. If you are already coughing or have a fever it’s probably too late. You want to get a flu shot before everyone at work starts sniffling before you actually get exposed to the virus. Flu vaccines are released in waves so it’s important to get one now while the supply is available. Don’t wait until December and January where the supplies will be limited and you are likely to already be exposed during the holiday parties. Plan ahead for your family and coworkers’ well being and stop by an urgent care facility to quickly and easily get your flu shot.