Why it is important to get your flu shot

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Courtesy of Creative Commons

A doctor giving a patient the flu shot vaccine.

Saige Figgs, Staff Writer

Many people fear the idea of getting a flu  shot.  Influenza also known as the flu, is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu shot each year.

The vaccine protects individuals from getting sick and can help protect women against the virus during and after pregnancy. It can also reduce the risk of hospitalization for children, working adults, and older people.

Administering the flu vaccine in 2020-2021 will be more important than ever. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the vaccine will not prevent COVID-19, but it will help reduce the flu illnesses. Last year at least 410,000 Americans were hospitalized from the flu. The CDC stated “… the flu vaccine has shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with the flu by 40 percent to 60 percent.”

The CDC reports that the flu vaccine is safe, although there are some groups that should not get it, such as children younger than 6 months of age, people who have had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine or any of its ingredients and finally, those with egg or mercury allergies.

The CDC recommends getting the vaccination early in the flu season. They released a statement saying, “…it is best to have your flu shot in late September and early October in order to ensure that you have time – usually two weeks – to develop an immune response before there is widespread transmission of the flu.”

Current Decatur student Meredith Eitel said, “I plan on getting the flu vaccine this year because I get it every year to help prevent myself from getting the flu.” Eitel plans to look out for herself and everyone around her by getting the shot this year.

When people  protect themselves from the flu through vaccination, they are also protecting those whom can not get vaccinated from catching the flu. This includes those who are too young to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated not only helps the individual getting the shot, but those in their community.

Locally, the Worcester County Health Department recommends all residents six months and older to get the flu shot. “This year’s vaccine provides protection against three strains of the flu virus expected to circulate this season…,” stated a representative from the department.

Flu shots are available to Worcester County residents at the Worcester County Health Department’s offices in Snow Hill, Pocomoke and Berlin. To make an appointment locally, call the office in Berlin in 410-629-0164.