It's that time of year again. Time to head to the doctor or pharmacy and get your flu shot. Holly and I, along with our three kids get flu shots each year. But many people refuse to get them. While it is a personal choice, making an informed decision on why or why not to get a flu shot is important. So let's clear a few things up, shall we?

One of the big misconceptions and something I hear from time to time is that sometimes, the flu shot will actually GIVE you the flu! Not true. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine given with a needle are made with either flu viruses that have been inactivated and are no longer infectious, or by using a single gene from a flu virus in order to get an immune response without a full-blown illness.

But what about people that say they have a 'reaction' after getting their flu shot? The CDC says the most common side effects are redness and swelling at the site of the shot. Low-grade fever, muscle aches, and a headache may also occur. But make no mistake. Those symptoms are NOT the flu. Serious reactions to the flu shot are rare but can be serious. If they do occur, they happen within minutes or hours of the shot. Effect treatments are available to treat these.

So why get the flu shot? Because if there is a chance that a simple shot will at least lessen my chances of getting the flu, isn't it worth it? And yes, it's possible for you to get a strain of influenza not covered by this year's vaccine. It happened to my daughter Carly last year. There are many different strains of influenza. The year vaccine protects you against the most prevalent strains.

So fear the flu. Don't fear the flu shot.

 

[via CDC]