Recently, Dr. Vince joined the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) for a statewide roundtable discussion on why vaccines are so important, barriers to vaccination, and what health looks like without immunizations. He shares additional points in this blog post. Dr. Vince is currently accepting new patients in Traverse City and Petoskey. Become a patient today.
Thinking about getting a flu vaccine this fall?
Every year, as the leaves turn their stunning reds and yellows and the days begin to shorten we are also reminded to consider a flu shot as well.
Flu vaccines prevent influenza. If you have had influenza you know that it is not a cold and it is not a ‘stomach flu’. Flu symptoms usually come on quickly and are more intense than a cold and often consist of fever, achiness, headache, fatigue as well as cough, runny nose, and sore throat. A stomach flu usually is centered around vomiting and diarrhea.
While getting the flu may not be too much to bear for some there are some issues to keep in mind:
- Is my health good enough that getting the flu will not land me in the hospital, or worse? Tens of thousands of people in the United States die either directly or indirectly from influenza every year, mostly from serious heart and lung complications.
- If your kids get this, how much school can they afford to miss and what will be the impacts on you and your family if someone needs to stay home with them?
- What if others you spend time with get sick from you? What would the impacts of getting the flu be like for your friends and family whose health is more fragile?
So, getting a flu shot is not just about you, it is also about protecting others.
• Flu vaccines have proven themselves to be safe.
• Flu vaccines are for anyone 6 months and older, therefore not for infants in their first six months of life.
• A true egg allergy used to be an absolute reason not to get a flu vaccine but this is no longer the case.
• If you had a very serious allergic reaction to a previous influenza vaccine it might not be for you, however. Consider reviewing this with your doctor.
How effective are they?
Like so many things, it depends, but the best answer is that obtaining a vaccine reduces your risk of getting the flu by 40 to 60%. These vaccines also reduce how sick you’ll get if you get the flu and they reduce hospitalizations and death for the most vulnerable of us, including people with lung problems, smokers, people with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more. Over the 50 years flu vaccines have been available they have also been proven to be safe, and cannot give you the flu, although your immune system may react to the vaccine in ways that may make you feel achy and sore.
In your quest for a flu-free and healthy future, remember to consider preventive measures like getting the flu vaccine. However, it’s equally important to embrace and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Your immune system will be fighting against the flu if you do happen to catch it – so it’s important to make sure you have a strong immune system. When examining your lifestyle, you should aim to achieve 6-8 hours of restful sleep, nourishing your body with proper nutrition, engaging in 3-5 days of physical activity, and managing your stress levels – you’re not only fortifying your defenses against the flu but also nurturing your overall well-being. Here’s to a healthier, more resilient you, armed with a robust immune system and the knowledge to protect yourself and those around you.