Like clockwork, flu season is here again, and health officials are urging everyone to get a flu shot. They are hopeful that high vaccination rates will help prevent what is expected to be a more severe-than-average flu season and reduce the demands an outbreak of both flu and COVID-19 could put on our health care system.
If you’re still on the fence about getting a flu shot, consider these four reasons.
1. Flu shots are often free.
There aren’t a lot of things you can get for free these days, but a free flu shot may be one of them. Flu shots are considered essential health benefits and are typically covered by your health plan.*
2. The flu affects you and everyone around you.
If you get the flu, you may be contagious for a day before your symptoms develop and up to seven days after becoming sick. Children and some people with weakened immune systems may pass the virus for even longer than seven days.
To help avoid spreading the flu you should:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Wear a mask when you’re with others.
- Avoid highly populated areas.
- Avoid contact with those who have weakened immune systems (i.e. children, elder adults, and those with chronic health conditions).
3. The flu can get complicated.
The symptoms of the flu can take a toll on your body and at times can be fatal. That is why it is important to take precautions, such as getting your seasonal flu vaccine, to keep you and your loved ones healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anywhere from 140,000 (in 2011-2012) to 810,000 (in 2017-2018) people are hospitalized each year for flu-related complications, including:
- Bacterial pneumonia
- Ear and sinus infections
- Worsening of chronic health conditions
4. Getting the flu shot is cheaper than getting the flu.
Check out the chart below and compare the costs associated with getting a flu shot versus getting the flu.
Learn more ways to protect yourself and others with care and services for seasonal flu.
*A seasonal flu vaccination does not guarantee protection against the flu virus. Many who get the seasonal flu vaccination may get sick. However, individuals who get a flu shot are less likely to get sick with flu than an individual who does not get a flu shot. Source: CDC.gov
1 Palmer LA, Rousculp MD, Johnston SS, Mahadevia PJ, Nichol KL. Effect of influenza-like illness and other wintertime respiratory illnesses on worker productivity: the Child and Household Influenza-Illness and Employee Function (CHIEF) study. 2010;28(31):5049–5056