Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Flu Vaccine Season

October is here which means it's flu vaccine season.  If you're a regular reader of this blog you know my stance on the flu vaccine.  Get it!  I just called up the clinic we go to each year for the vaccine and they are arriving this week and ready next week.  Thus I anticipate a trip to the clinic for my family and me sometime next week.  No need to delay.  Best to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

The flu vaccine gets a bad rap because it isn't nearly as effective as other vaccines and must be given every year.  The flu is constantly evolving and there's always some guess work into which strain to vaccinate for.  Some years the flu vaccine provides great protection but other years not so much.  The 2014-2015 flu vaccine did not provide much protection, unfortunately.  The flu strain had mutated quickly.  However, that doesn't mean you should reject getting the flu vaccine.  Even in a bad year, such as last year, the flu vaccine provides some protection.

Every year many people, typically the very young and very old (but on occasion the young and healthy) die from the flu.  According to studies done by the CDC, anywhere from 3,000 - 49,000 people die in the U.S. each year from the flu.  Even on the low end, 3,000 is a large number when there is protection that is easy to get.  The flu vaccine may not stop all deaths, but even in an ineffective year, it will stop some.

There are a few people who cannot receive vaccines for medical reasons, but those people are few and far between.  Let's face it.  You are not one of those people.  Do yourself a favor and vaccinate your kids and yourself against the flu.  You may hear all the time people claiming they got the vaccine but had the flu.  Maybe.  I won't discount someone getting the flu, but most people claiming they have the flu have nothing more than a common cold.  Symptoms are similar.  Having a stuffed, runny nose and feeling a bit weak is not the flu.  That's a cold.  A flu is much more effective at putting you down for the count.

Despite what you may hear, the flu vaccine does not cause autism.  It does not cause mercury poisoning.  It does not give you other illnesses and it certainly doesn't give you the flu itself.  The vaccine may be less effective some years, but remember that every year thousands in the U.S. die from the flu and some protection is ALWAYS better than no protection.  

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