As another flu season approaches, so too does the perennial debate about whether to get a flu shot or not. If you’re among those who are on the fence each year, unsure what to do, here are some reasons why you may want to consider getting vaccinated.
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.
The average person infected with the flu virus takes two days off from work and the symptoms of flu – coughing, congestion, fever, and fatigue – can last up to two weeks!
Get a flu shot to help ensure that you don’t turn into “that guy” (you know, the one who infects everyone else).
If you do happen to get the flu, you can help avoid spreading it by:
- Washing your hands frequently
- Avoiding highly populated areas
- Avoiding contact with those who have weak 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 710,000 (in 2014-2015) 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.
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