You know flu season is here. But you’re thinking about not getting a shot this year. Maybe you’ve been lucky so far, and never got sick. Considering taking that gamble again? Here are five reasons why you should get vaccinated now:
The flu season is just starting: The CDC suggests getting a flu shot as the season starts: Putting it off is not wise since it takes two weeks for the vaccine to take full effect.
The U.S. flu season starts typically in October and peaks in January or February. Florida usually runs a little behind the rest of the country as the flu hits colder climes first and then winter visitors bring it to Florida during tourist season.
Flu season isn’t cheap either. The CDC estimated $10.4 billion each year is spent on direct costs for hospitalizations and outpatient visits for adults who contract flu viruses.
You touch everything: The virus lurks in places you wouldn’t think, and everyone is vulnerable to picking up the virus.
Few excuses for not getting the flu shot carry any weight, doctors say. Healthy people who live a gluten-free life can get the flu as easily as someone who lives on Twinkies. There are options for pregnant women or people with allergies. Few people ever have an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
A flu shot won’t make you sick: It’s a myth. The vaccine is made up of antibodies, an inactive virus that can’t transmit the disease. But doctors are fighting misconceptions about the vaccine.
“We are very concerned about the upcoming flu season especially because of all the bad publicity the flu shot has been getting,” said Dr. Allan Greissman, a specialist at Pediatric Critical Care of South Florida in Hollywood. “Our practice has seen an upswing in the number of influenza positive patients; I strongly urge the community to get vaccinated this season.”
Do it for others: You can unknowingly pass on the flu to anyone — your spouse, your children, your coworkers. The flu can be deadly for vulnerable groups like children and the elderly. The rest of us will miss work or school suffering fever, chills, congestion, body aches, and sore throat.
Loxahatchee teenager Jenny Spell knows all too well the danger of the flu. The Palm Beach Post earlier this year chronicled Spell’s near-death struggle that forced her onto a heart-lung machine for five days and required a kidney transplant and nearly a year-long rehabilitation.
RELATED: How a Loxahatchee teen almost died from the flu
Spell encourages everyone to get a flu shot because it is unknown whose immune system might be the one that can’t fight it off.
“If you won’t do it to protect yourself, do it to protect the people you love,” said Spell, now a college student at the University of Florida.
Dr. Alina Alonso, director of the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County, echoes Spell’s sentiments: “You might not only be protecting yourself you will be protecting a young baby or an elderly person who may be next to you.”
Even if someone comes down with a flu strain not included in the vaccine, he or she will get less sick than if they didn’t get the shot, she added.
The flu can kill: The recent pandemic in Australia killed more than 70.
Vanika Idnani, a 3-year-old Australian girl, is one of the most recent victims of a virulent strain of flu, the H3N2 strain, well-known to doctors everywhere. And that strain is already showing up this flu season in America.
Australia’s lackadaisical attitude toward preventive medicine fueled that country’s recent deadly flu spike, the New York Times reported. How the U.S. responds depends on how influenza-experts engineered this year’s vaccine and whether residents get a flu shot — which can be done on a quick trip to the grocery or drug store or at school.
GET YOUR FLU SHOT:
Once again, the Palm Beach County School District and the local offices of the state Health Department have teamed with Healthy Schools LLC to deliver flu shots to all of the county’s schools, including charter schools that are interested in participating.
Getting the shot requires a parent to fill out permission forms that went home earlier in this year. If parents haven’t seen the form and want their child to be vaccinated, they should call the school. There’s no out of pocket fee for the shots and all students can get them.
The vaccination is a shot. No more nasal mist. The flu shots will be administered at schools beginning Oct. 23 and running through Nov. 13. Check with your school for the date they’ll be on campus.
Publix Supermarkets is offering a $10 grocery coupon for every adult who gets immunized from the flu. Walgreens, CVS and other outlets administer flu shots to children as well and others offer coupons, too.
Nicole Krauss, a Publix spokeswoman, said the $10 coupon is even open to employees. “It’s an opportunity to assert ourselves in the health and wellness community, to be a community partner,” she said.