As the winter season intensifies, respiratory infections are on the rise, making it crucial to get your annual flu shot. Influenza, or the flu, is a serious and highly contagious illness. Annually, millions are affected worldwide, which is why health experts universally recommend the flu vaccine for everyone aged 6 months and older, particularly for those with chronic diseases.

If you are considering skipping your annual vaccination, here are compelling reasons to reconsider:

The flu shot can be lifesaving.

Flu-related deaths vary each year, but severe flu seasons have seen significant casualties globally. In the most severe cases, vulnerable groups are at higher risk, thus updating your flu vaccine every year is crucial, especially for young children, pregnant women, and adults over the age of 65.

The flu shot can’t give you the flu, but it can reduce the severity.

It’s a proven fact that the flu shot cannot cause the flu.

The vaccine either contains an inactivated virus or just a single gene from the flu virus, making it non-infectious.

Although the vaccine addresses specific strains, making it possible to still contract the flu, it is formulated to protect against the most prevalent types each year. Moreover, if you do catch the flu after vaccination, the symptoms are generally milder and more manageable.

The flu shot helps protect the people around you.

Due to the highly contagious nature of the flu, vaccinated individuals help prevent the spread to family, friends, and the community—particularly protecting those at high risk.

It may prevent other serious medical complications for people with chronic conditions.

During past flu seasons, a significant percentage of adults hospitalised for the flu had at least one underlying medical condition, making them high-risk for complications. The flu shot has been shown to reduce hospitalisations by nearly half and specifically diminish the incidence of cardiac events, diabetic emergencies, and chronic lung complications.

You need a new flu shot annually to stay healthy.

Flu viruses constantly evolve, and each year a new vaccine is developed to match the most common anticipated strains. Optimal protection is achieved by annual vaccination, starting from 6 months of age.

The earlier you get it, the safer you’ll be.

It takes about two weeks for flu antibodies to develop in the body after vaccination, so ideally, you should get the flu shot as soon as the vaccine is available. However, getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial and is far better than not getting vaccinated at all.

They are easily and readily available.

Flu vaccines are accessible and convenient, offered at various locations such as doctor’s offices, clinics, pharmacies, and health centres, as well as some schools and workplaces.

Throughout the flu season, health organisations provide educational resources and share personal stories of those affected by the flu, helping debunk myths and highlighting the importance of vaccination for people with chronic health conditions.

Stay informed and protect yourself and your loved ones by getting vaccinated this winter.

Source: American Lung Association