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Should You Get a Flu Shot?

Sick woman with tissue and snow effect surroundingThe annual flu shot—for many, it’s as routine as an annual checkup—when the holidays approach, it’s time to get the flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccine every year. Some medical professionals, though, question the effectiveness of the shot.

How the Flu Vaccine Works

When you get a flu shot, it’s typically with a dead flu virus, so it cannot give you the flu. The shot causes antibodies to develop in your body, which ward off infection from any viruses found in the vaccine.

Reasons to Get the Flu Shot

Proponents of the flu shot say there are many reasons to get the shot:

  • The shots are relatively painless, and the vaccine is available as a nasal mist (though, in that form, it may have live, but weakened, viruses)
  • The shot is often free, usually covered by your health insurance
  • A study found that people who got a flu shot were 36% less likely to have a heart attack
  • You can protect others simply by getting the shot, including infants and senior citizens

Does the Flu Shot Really Work?

The CDC and many public health officials say there is little question that flu shots have dramatically reduced rates of influenza, but there are skeptics, who point to a number of studies, such as:

  • A report in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine that concluded that giving flu shots to young children had no impact on doctor visits or hospitalizations
  • An article in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine that found no improvement in the fatality rates from the flu since 1980, despite a more than four-fold increase in vaccinations

The CDC acknowledges that the effectiveness of the flu shot can vary, based on a variety of factors, such as the age and health of the person vaccinated. In addition, the antibodies in a flu shot must match up with the types of flu in a community.

Come to Hillcrest Medical

If you have suffered a sprain, strain or muscle pull, the best place in Dallas for urgent care is Hillcrest Medical. Many of our patients also choose to make our doctor their primary care physician. Come and check out our facility and meet our doctor and staff. We’re here to help you now, and we’re here for all your future urgent care needs.

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