One of the easiest and most effective ways of protecting yourself from the flu, is by getting a flu shot.

Though it takes less than 5 minutes to get vaccinated, the protective effects can last for the next 6-8 months, saving you the trouble of costly hospital bills and less than pleasant symptoms.

Let’s take a closer look at the positive impacts of getting a flu shot.

Flu Symptoms and Complications

First off, if you’ve ever had the flu before, you know that the effects are no joke. Common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Running nose
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)

Besides experiencing symptoms, getting the flu can also lead to even more serious health complications such as:

  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus and ear infections
  • Inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissues
  • Respiratory and kidney failure
  • Sepsis (the body’s extreme reaction to infection)=

 

Though most people recover in 2 weeks or less, there are some situations that can prolong the illness. For example, those in a higher at-risk population such as seniors 65 years and older, people with chronic conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart disease, etc.), pregnant women, and children under 5 are especially vulnerable to flu symptoms.

If you are unsure whether you can safely receive a flu shot given your current health status, you can always verify with your primary care provider.

Why You Should Get The Flu Shot

Getting a flu shot not only protects you from the flu, but it also acts as a preventative strategy against bigger—possibly even life-threatening—complications. Though the flu itself is unpleasant, it poses far less risk than something like pneumonia or kidney failure.

Furthermore, getting a shot not only protects you but also those around you. If you live with or spend a lot of time with people who belong to the at-risk group, getting vaccinated reduces the chance of you passing the flu onto them and potentially putting their lives at risk.

Also, keep in mind that the time you spend in recovery is time that could have been spent in other ways, such as catching up on work or sharing quality time with friends and family. While some people may only take a few days to recover, others might take up to two full weeks. Getting vaccinated ensures you don’t have to worry about how much time you might lose due to the flu.

One final point to consider is medical expense. If your symptoms are mild, it’s possible to weather the illness from home, but if your symptoms are more severe, you should see a doctor. Depending on your health insurance, you may need to budget for co-pay and prescriptions costs.

All in all, getting a flu shot is comparatively less costly, less time intensive, and less stressful than getting the flu itself. What’s more, the vaccine is available before and all throughout the flu season, so even if you haven’t been vaccinated yet, you have the opportunity to do so.

Flu Season and When to Get Your Shot

Though flu season starts in October, you should still get vaccinated even if you’ve already missed the pre-flu season window. It’s not uncommon for flu season to last as late as May, so between now and then, there are still plenty of opportunities for getting exposed and falling ill to the virus.

Another important fact to take into consideration is that flu season typically peaks between December and February in the U.S., although significant activity can last till the end of the season. Because it takes the vaccine antibodies 2 weeks to develop and become effective, the earlier you get vaccinated, the narrower your chances are of getting infected.

As the adage goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”

Next Steps

Booking a flu shot with Lutherville Pharmacy takes less than 5 minutes and is your first step to protecting yourself and your family.

As your local pharmacy and partners in healthcare, we’re here to support you on every stage of your health journey. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of the flu vaccine, who it’s for, and how it works with your specific health insurance, give us a call or talk with our staff in real time via our app.