Despite pharmacy warnings and advertisements everywhere, over half of the U.S. still avoids the flu shot every year.
There are plenty of reasons to avoid a shot that may or may not even prevent the flu — fear of needles, fatigue and muscle aches are just a few deterrents from going through with the shot. A person may even remain unvaccinated and avoid getting sick out of sheer luck.
Yet, all of these are based on misunderstandings about the flu shot and influenza.
Each year, Americans are told that the flu shot does not cause influenza and that the flu can kill even healthy people — but is this enough to convince Americans of its necessity? Especially since the shot does not become effective until a few weeks following vaccination, and one can still acquire the flu in the immediate days following the shot, or if the strain of flu virus circulating does not match the vaccination.
However, a couple of factors often overlooked are that, for one, even if you still contract the flu, the flu shot vaccine can help fend off the potentially fatal complications that can arise; and second, while the vaccination may not ward off a flu infection that is already brewing, it will keep others from contracting the illness.
As it turns out, because influenza does not strike Americans as quite serious, 48 percent of polled individuals without plans to get a flu shot admitted they didn’t feel they needed one.
Certainly, influenza can kill healthy people, but typically, people live through it — but only because of modern medicine. In the past, influenza was much more deadly without a regimen of medicines to treat it and illnesses like it.
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