Preventing the spread of the flu virus
Although needles can be highly unpleasant, the benefits of the flu shot should be considered. Although everyone is at risk of getting the flu, the symptoms can be more serious for individuals who fall into a high risk category, such as children, the elderly and the chronically ill. Therefore, although the flu virus may not be life threatening for you, that might not be the case for someone who catches the virus from you. Getting your vaccination shot each year is a good way to ensure that you and your family are protected from the virus.
It is important to note that each year there are different strains of the influenza virus. Therefore, shots received in previous years will not protect you. It is important that you and your family received the flu shot each year at the beginning of the flu season.
Where can I get a flu shot?
The availability of flu shots will vary depending on your jurisdiction. In most cases, a family physician will be able to provide you with the vaccination shot. However, if you do not have a family doctor, a public health authority can usually provide you with a list of flu shot locations. Since children are in the high risk category, look for information that is sent home with your child from the school he or she attends. An educational institution will usually either provide the vaccinations, or will provide you with a list of flu shot locations. Another good place to seek this information is your local pharmacy.
Flu shot side effects
Although there are side effects associated with the vaccination, flu shot symptoms are generally less severe than the symptoms associated with the virus. However the following list contains the most common side effects of the vaccination:
- Swelling in the same arm that you received the flu shot
- Cold like symptoms including runny nose, headache, sore throat and cough
- Body aches
- Low grade fever
Side effects from the flu shot are very rare, and if someone does experience them in rare cases, it is usually in a very short time frame after the shot is received.