NETfacts: Self-care

Five reasons to get the flu shot now

With the cold weather months just around the corner, you can be sure a new season of the flu is also coming with it! Whether you get a flu shot every year, or have never received it, here are five reasons you should get it this year – and get it now!

1. Viruses change yearly
Last year’s flu vaccination will not protect you again this year. Even though the 2011-2012 vaccine protected against the same viruses as the 2010-2011 vaccine, your immunity decreases over time and you will need a new dose this year to develop new antibodies to the viruses.

2. Sooner means safer
There is no specific moment when the flu season begins or ends, but it can arrive as early as October and continue as late as May. It takes approximately two weeks after receiving the flu vaccination for the antibodies to develop, so waiting too long into the flu season could mean coming in contact with the virus before you are fully protected against it.

3. It decreases risk
Pregnant women, children under five, adults over 50, healthcare workers, those with chronic health conditions, and anyone living or working with them, are at the highest risk for getting the flu and should be immunized. High-risk groups should be especially proactive in getting medical treatment, as they can develop fatal complications like pneumonia, dehydration and aggravation of medical conditions like asthma, heart failure or diabetes.

4. It travels easily
One uncovered cough or sneeze and the flu virus is airborne. Using hand sanitizers, avoiding crowds, eating a balanced diet and exercising are good ways to decrease the likelihood of getting sick, but a flu shot is your best defense.

5. A flu and a cold seem the same
The flu is a respiratory infection with symptoms that are very similar to those of a cold – fever, exhaustion, body aches, sore throat, dry cough, itchy eyes and nausea. If these symptoms come on suddenly and are accompanied by a fever and body aches, then you probably have the flu.

Stay healthy and get your flu shot now self-care lovers!

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid /