The CDC recommends everyone over the age of six months receives a flu vaccination, with the exception of people who are allergic to the vaccine or its ingredients. For individuals who are at a high risk for flu-related complications, including pregnant women, seniors, and children under the age of five, it’s especially important to be vaccinated. Aside from simply complying with general health recommendations, however, there many benefits to receiving the flu vaccine. Flu season spans the fall, winter, and spring with activity peaking from December through February, so here’s why you should get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so. Here are 5 Benefits of Getting the Flu Vaccine.
Avoid the Flu Entirely
The effectiveness of the flu vaccine can vary from person to person based on factors like age and current health. Yet, in many cases, it can prevent the flu altogether. For instance, during the 2016-2017 season, it’s estimated that the vaccination prevented more than 5 million cases of the flu.
Experience Fewer or Reduced Symptoms
If you do contract the flu despite receiving the vaccine, it’s possible that your symptoms will be less severe than those of a person who wasn’t vaccinated. Typically, symptoms include fever and chills, muscle or body aches, fatigue, headaches, cough, sore throat, and runny nose. Yet, in at-risk populations as well as people with chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD, and diabetes among others, flu-like complications can become deadly. The vaccine can minimize symptom severity and therefore decreases the risk of death in populations like young children and people 65 and older.
Prevent Flu-Related Hospitalization
Because the vaccine can reduce the risk of the flu and its complications, it can also help you stay out of the hospital. Within recent years, immunizations have helped reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization by 40%. Of those who do require hospitalization, vaccinated parties may be 82% less likely to be admitted to ICU.
Save Your PTO
While it may not be a health-related reason, saving your paid time off (PTO) is still a compelling incentive for getting vaccinated. Since many employees receive just 10 to 15 days of PTO each year, it’s important to use them wisely. Staying at home with the flu is certainly not anyone’s idea of a fun day off.
Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Events
Recently, researchers discovered individuals with high blood pressure who receive the flu shot are 16% less likely to experience a deadly cardiovascular event, and 18% less likely to die from any cause. Medical experts have long suspected that the flu puts stress on the body, which could trigger stroke or heart attack. Because patients with high blood pressure are already at an elevated risk for these conditions, it’s critically important for them to be vaccinated.
In addition to these benefits, there’s even more good news to consider. Most local pharmacies now offer convenient flu shot services right at their locations, so you don’t even have to schedule an appointment. And, chances are your insurance will cover the cost of the shot, too. You can always discuss your candidacy for the vaccination with your physician, but unless you have a known allergy to the shot or its ingredients, they’re likely to give you their approval.