Question: How serious is the flu?
Answer: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) conducts research on the number of hospital visits based on flu-like symptoms every year. The most recent data suggests that there were 23,000,000 visits between 2017-2018. Some people are at a higher risk for the flu than others. You may be at a higher risk for the flu if you have chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes, have heart disease or have experienced a stroke, are older than the age of 65, or are pregnant.
Question: I got my flu shot last year. Do I need to get another one?
Answer: Yes! Last year’s flu shot does not provide enough protection to last you longer than a year. The reason for this is that your body’s response continually declines as the year progresses. This is why you have to get the flu shot annually for the best protection against the flu!
Question: Does my insurance cover the flu shot?
Answer: The flu shot is covered by a lot of insurances. The Affordable Care Act requires that most companies provide coverage for preventative conditions, which includes the flu shot. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to be sure.
Question: Is there just one dose of the flu shot?
Answer: There are actually a variety of doses of the flu shot. The standard dose that most people receive is given in the arm with a needle and is made for people aged 18-64. There is also a high-dose trivalent shot that is approved for people over the age of 65. Other variations of the flu shot include an egg-free version and one with adjuvant which is an ingredient that helps a stronger immune response which is meant for people over the age of 65.
Question: Is the flu shot the most effective way to prevent illness?
Answer: Yes! According to the CDC, the flu vaccine reduces a person’s risk of getting a flu-related illness serious enough to call for a doctor’s visit by 61%! It is important to note that the effectiveness depends on how closely the strain of flu in the vaccine matches the existing flu strains.
Question: When should I get the vaccine?
Answer: It is best to get the vaccine early because it takes approximately two weeks for the vaccination to work in your body. Specifically, the CDC recommends that you get your flu shot by the end of October. The CDC notes that if you have forgotten to get the vaccine, you can still benefit from it even into the month of January or later.