Published on October 23, 2017

Don’t risk the flu—get your shot

You want to stay healthy and feel good.

And one way to do that, especially this time of year, is to get a flu shot.

Flu vaccineSome people develop serious complications from the flu—like pneumonia—and need to be hospitalized. Older adults are at especially high risk for flu complications or even death. So are those with chronic health problems, like diabetes or heart or lung disease.

Those are some key reasons why nearly everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine every year.

“Getting an annual flu shot is the best way to help avoid getting sick and infecting others who are more vulnerable,” says Donna Raziano, MD, Mercy LIFE Chief Medical Officer.

Why do you need a new shot each year? Because the viruses it prevents can change from one flu season to the next. Also, the immunity depends on the strains of active influenza virus that year.

It’s true that sometimes you can still get the flu even if you’ve had a flu shot. “But chances are, you won’t get as sick if you’ve been vaccinated,” Dr. Raziano says. “That’s why the vaccine is still your best defense against the flu.”

Help protect others

Here’s another reason to get a flu shot:

It also helps keep people around you, like very young children, from getting the flu. Many babies are too young to get a flu shot. So if you get the flu, you put them at risk for it too.

Flu season can last for many months. So it’s not too late to get a flu shot if you haven’t done so yet.