Vincent Black

Flu shot pros and cons… should you get it?

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Last year when l got my flu shot within a couple of days l got a bad cold and swore that l would never get a flu shot again. So, this year COVID-19 hits and all medical advice is to get the flu shot if you can. Well l am caught in a dilemma and before l make that decision, l am trying to educate myself and decide what’s best for me.

Here are some facts you should be aware of before you take the flu shot….

One of the most important things in life is maintaining good health. That’s why it’s so important to stay updated on your healthcare options. This year’s flu season is already being called the worst in a decade and combined with COVID-19 symptoms this flu season could be one giant merry go round. Government, especially our provincial officials recommends getting the flu vaccine, but this season is so intense that many places are out of stock. There’s no doubt that this year’s outbreak is bad, and the numbers keep climbing and the official season isn’t even here yet.

Health officials are urging the public to get their flu shots, the average of those who do is failing and you should be aware of the pros and cons before you make your decision.

Pro: Unlike many other vaccines, flu shots do not contain the flu viruses. This means there is no chance you will contract the flu from your vaccine. Instead, the vaccine is only composed of flu proteins. In other words, you are only being exposed to part of the flu organism, not the complete organism itself.

Con: Egg allergies are not that common, but if you have one, you may need to make some extra deliberations before deciding to get your flu shot. Warnings from medical experts are that if you have mild allergies you should be fine, but the more severe cases will need to receive the vaccine in a hospital setting. Folks experiencing hives after egg exposure should be fine to receive flu shots.

Pro: The majority of time the flu shot is free. Many health plans offer free flu shots, if you are under your company’s insurance, your chances of getting a free treatment are even better.

You may want to check your insurance rider but getting the flu shot is covered by a great majority of programs. Most places, especially health centres and official flu shot dispensaries will give you the flu shot regardless of your status in this province.

Con: The most likely biggest con out of all flu vaccine, is the possible side effects can strike fear in even the most scientifically sound person. Some of the typical side effects from this vaccine is redness and swelling at the injection site, there is an extremely small chance of developing febrile seizure, narcolepsy, asthma from this vaccine. My personal experience has been soreness in my arm for several days and flu like symptoms about two days after taking the vaccine.

Con: Although you may feel 100% protected immediately after receiving your flu shot, the medicine takes a bit of time to work. Make sure to protect yourself in other ways for two weeks following your flu shot to keep you in the clear. That means washing your hands and avoiding those who show signs of illness. The COVID-19 procedures are exactly the same after taking this vaccine. You still have to do follow up with yourself and protect other as well, this may not be the magic bullet, but it’s the best we got.

Pro: Getting a vaccine isn’t just about you, it’s also about everyone around you. Those who neglect to get vaccinated present a health risk to the general public. One of the most thoughtful things you can do is contribute to the world’s public health and safety in a positive way by helping and minimize the spread of this disease/flu.

Just touching on some pros and cons to getting the flue shot, you may ask…what is the difference between the flu and a cold?

There is a difference between the flu and a cold. So, whether you get the flu shot or not, you should know what to look out for. The flu presents rapidly, and the onset is quick. Meaning your symptoms will get worse extremely fast. On the other hand, cold symptoms present over a series of days, and they are much less extreme.

The most common symptoms of the flu are high fever and body aches. The most common symptoms of colds are runny noses, sore throat, and a cough. Both the flu and a cold can cause exhaustion – but often the exhaustion that comes with the flu is much more severe. Even if you get the flu shot, you can still get sick, so know what to look out for when you’re watching your symptoms.

In summary, obtaining the flu vaccine protects you and your loved ones from what could become a severe health complication, and keeps you at work and participating in your day-to-day activities. There is a small chance that you might experience an allergic reaction, which your doctor can help you to guard against, and you might experience mild soreness at the injection site for a few days. Overwhelmingly, it’s clear that the pros of obtaining a flu vaccine far outweigh the cons.

At the end of the day, you run a bigger risk by not getting the flu shot, than you do by getting it. You still may get sick, but your odds of illness decrease significantly when you get the vaccine.

So, if you can…get the flu shot.

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