Healthcare Tips

Flu Shots… That Time of Year Is Here Again

August 30, 2023

A lot of people automatically have this on their fall to-do lists. But, for others, it can be a toss-up. “What if I feel sick after getting my shot?” “What if it’s not formulated for the strain of flu I encounter?” “I really hate shots!” 

On the Fence About Flu Shots?

If you’re on the fence about getting a flu shot this year, you’re not alone. 

And while the flu shot is never perfect (no vaccine works 100% of the time), the impact it has had in keeping people healthy cannot be overstated. 

Some individuals may experience slight symptoms — like achy muscles — after receiving their flu shot. This is due to the immune system being activated (a good thing!) and not because they have caught the flu. An immune system response is exactly what we want to happen. It indicates that your body recognizes the germs as invaders and is preparing antibodies to attack, should you be exposed to them again.  

Each year the flu vaccine is updated to target three to four specific flu strains. As you might recall from COVID, viruses tend to mutate over time. So why, you might wonder, should you get a flu shot if it may not be formulated for the specific flu strain you might be exposed to? While the strains are not identical, they do share lots of traits. Data shows that getting a flu shot can still reduce the severity of your illness, even if it doesn’t prevent it completely. It could mean the difference between feeling under the weather for two or three days, versus being completely wiped out for a week.  

As any parent with little kids knows, shots can feel scary (and, this is true for some adults, too)! Who willingly signs up to be poked? Not most four-year-olds, that’s for sure. If a fear of the needle is truly prohibitive in receiving the flu vaccine, there is a nasal spray option as well. There are some individuals who should not receive the vaccine in nasal spray form, so talk to your doctor about the best option for your circumstances. 

Finally, there’s great news for people with egg allergies this year. While in the past those with egg allergies were offered alternative types of the flu vaccine (due to the vaccine containing small amounts of egg proteins), the CDC no longer recommends this and states that people with egg allergies can safely take any flu shot without any extra precautions. (As always, talk with your doctor and see the CDC’s recommendations here.) 

Gateway Hancock Health wishes you a happy and healthy fall, free from the flu. Please visit us if you’d like to receive your flu shot. We’ve got you covered, Hancock County!  

This Fall, Boost Your Immune SystemMeet the Imaging Staff at Gateway Hancock Health