Why You Need a Flu Shot Every Year

If you’ve ever had the flu you know how miserable it is, literally knocking you off your feet for days with a fever, coughing, sore throat, and body aches. But do you fully understand the medical risks involved? 

According to the CDC, the 2017-18 flu season saw 900,000 people hospitalized and 80,000 die from the flu. Those numbers are staggering, which is why you need a flu shot every year.

Flu season normally begins in October, peaks between December and February, and tapers off in the spring. But you can get the flu all year long. 

At Primary Care Walk-In Clinic in Gilbert and Fountain Hills, Arizona, we keep our patients healthy by treating symptoms of the flu, or more ideally by preventing it. Dr. Pankaj Chopra, Dr. Neha Maheshwari, and Dr. Sufia Khan, and our nurse practitioners Stephanie Niepokoj-Dunn and Ericka Vaughn are flu specialists who are here to help you.

High-risk groups for the flu

While we recommend that everyone over 6 months old gets a flu shot annually, there are groups at a higher risk of developing serious complications. They include children 6 months to 5 years old, adults over 65, and pregnant women. Also on the list are those with heart disease, asthma, chronic lung diseases, or a weakened or damaged immune system.

A flu shot is the best defense

Keep in mind that it takes up to two weeks for your body to bolster your immunity after you get your vaccination. So getting a flu shot sooner rather than later means you’re better protected, and it’s less likely that the vaccine will run out. While it’s not a perfect system and the flu changes from year to year, getting an annual vaccination offers protection against several different flu viruses. This is why it’s so important to get your flu shot every year.

The idea that the shot causes the flu is not true, but you can still get the flu even if you’ve been vaccinated. The shot works by helping your system build antibodies, which fight the virus if you’re exposed to it. If you got the flu shot and end up still getting the flu, it’s likely that your symptoms will be milder.

As we go through your medical history, we may advise skipping the shot if you’re allergic to eggs or had a bad reaction to a flu shot in the past. However, there are now FDA-approved vaccines for adults that don’t contain eggs, which we discuss with you. 

Other ways to outsmart the flu

To help avoid exposure to the virus, wash your hands often, especially after being in public places. Don’t put your hands and fingers on your eyes, mouth and nose, and avoid people who are sick. You can also stay informed with sites like the FluView report to know what ‘s happening in your area. 

Treating the flu

If worse comes to worst, and you have symptoms of the flu, which can also include chills, cold sweats and weakness, come to see us right away. We do a simple flu test by swabbing your nose, and if you do have the flu, we may put you on antiviral drugs, acetaminophen and/or NSAIDs. You’ll also need to take care of yourself with lots of rest and fluids. 

The flu is nothing to mess around with, which is why you need a flu shot every year. Call us or use the handy “Request Appointment” button for an office visit, flu shot or any other immunization.

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 STDs You Can Screen for Right Now

If you’re sexually active, routine screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is the best way to protect yourself from serious health complications. Learn more about the common STDs you can screen for today.

What to Expect During Your COVID-19 Test

Testing for COVID-19 is still ongoing and helps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Find out when you should schedule a COVID-19 test and what to expect during the procedure.

5 Tips for Preventing a UTI

An estimated 8.1 million people visit the doctor for a painful urinary tract infection (UTI) each year. Learn more about the signs of a UTI and how you can reduce your risk for getting one.

Get the Jump on Spring Allergies Through Testing

Roughly 23.6 million people in the United States are diagnosed with seasonal allergies each year. If you’re tired of suffering through spring with allergy symptoms, get yourself scheduled for allergy testing today.

The Many Causes of a Sore Throat

Is your sore throat from the flu? A cold? Allergies? Find out what else can cause a sore throat and what signs to look for that indicate you need medical treatment.