10 reasons to get a flu shot today
Why now is the best time for vaccination
Getting your flu shot when it becomes available in the fall is the best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza, otherwise known as the flu. Doctors agree that the immunity gained from your vaccination takes roughly two weeks to fully develop.
That means early vaccination is always better, since we can’t be certain when the flu will strike. And if it does strike, it will take less than two days to take hold.
Wondering whether you should bother with a flu shot this year? Here are 10 reasons to get vaccinated sooner rather than later.
It’s easier than ever to get a flu shot. We allow walk-in flu shots at all HealthPartners and Park Nicollet clinics during flu season. Or you could visit our urgent care centers after hours and on weekends, if that’s when you’re available. If your schedule allows, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at your regular clinic.
Statistically speaking, someone is likely giving flu vaccinations at your nearest clinic right this moment.
The flu shot is often free
For most, the flu shot is free. Per Affordable Care Act guidelines, insurers are required by law to fully cover flu vaccinations. No copay. No coinsurance.
If you don’t have insurance, check with your clinic for your exact cost. At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, your flu shot will cost $45 without insurance.
Many are surprised to learn how serious the flu can get when left untreated. If you come down with serious flu complications, a trip to the emergency room will cost much more than a simple flu shot would have.
It can’t give you the flu
The flu vaccine contains inactive germs, which means it’s impossible to get the flu from your shot. Despite this fact, myths surrounding flu shots still exist.
Side effects from getting a flu shot include achy muscles, and every once in a while a slightly elevated temperature. Bottom line, you won’t get sick even though you might experience minor side effects, such as a sore shoulder.
It can protect you from heart trouble
If you face heart disease or have a history of heart problems, the flu vaccination may reduce your risk of a future cardiac event. A 2013 study from the Journal of The American Medical Association demonstrated that getting the flu shot was associated with reduced risk of stroke, heart attack or worse.
You’ll cut your flu risk in half
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports getting your flu vaccine effectively cuts your chances of contracting seasonal influenza by 50 percent.
Because flu strains change and evolve over time, the vaccine won’t ever be perfect. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth getting vaccinated. Ask anyone who has had a serious bout of flu in recent years, and they’ll tell you that any protection from the flu is better than no protection at all.
You’ll drastically reduce your child’s risks
The CDC reports the flu vaccine reduces children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit admission by 74 percent. Your best bet at keeping your kids out of the hospital in a flu-related incident is getting them in for a flu shot now.
You can pass the flu to others without getting sick
The flu can be especially dangerous for the elderly, young children, or those with compromised immune systems.
Sure, if you skip the flu vaccine there’s a chance you might not get sick. But that doesn’t mean flu germs won’t pass from you via your phone, keys, door handles and hands to loved ones or total strangers who may not share your strong immune system.
Getting the flu shot trains your immune system to fight these germs, eliminating the risk of you carrying it to loved ones unknowingly.
The flu shot is a marvel of modern science
Throughout history, plagues, pandemics and diseases were impossible to prevent. In fact, it was exactly 100 years ago that one of the worst flu pandemics struck, negatively impacting millions globally and changing the course of World War I.
Lucky for us, we now have access to dozens of modern vaccinations that keep us safe from tetanus, polio, hepatitis B, measles and of course, the flu.
The flu shot is a marvel of modern science protecting millions from widespread flu outbreaks each year. We’re part of history each time we choose to get vaccinated.
The flu is serious
Most of us have had the flu and come out the other side rattled, but OK. Like any other disease, the flu evolves. Building up immunity to one strain doesn’t mean you’re safe from the many new and changing strains floating around.
And unfortunately, hospitalization and deaths do occur each year. While this is rare, it still happens. Why not get the vaccine and give yourself, and others around you, the best shot at staying healthy?
Last year’s vaccine won’t protect you this year
Each year, the CDC and the World Health Organization perform rigorous testing to determine which strains of influenza pose the highest threats globally.
The flu shot changes each year based on this research. Which means even if you had your shot last year, you will need one this year, too.
Ready to get that flu shot?
Click your provider below to find your nearest clinic, and learn about your easiest flu shot options:
If you have additional questions about the flu vaccine, possible side effects or pricing, you can read through our list of frequently asked flu questions.
About Beth Averbeck, MD
Dr. Beth Averbeck is Senior Medical Director for Primary Care at HealthPartners. In this role, she supports care teams to provide primary care at HealthPartners clinics. She also sees patients. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with family and pets, and playing oboe in community bands.