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Flu Shots – Are They Worthwhile?

Flu Shots – Are They Worthwhile?

The flu, as we usually call influenza, is a respiratory infection whose symptoms are fever, body aches, sore throat, tiredness, and nausea. The symptoms often appear quite suddenly, accompanied by high fever. If you experience these symptoms you most likely have the flu and should contact your doctor.

For many people flu shots are the best preventative measure but they are not 100% effective unfortunately. There are some people who should not get flu shots. Anyone with serious health conditions such as diabetes or asthma, allergies and other problems could suffer complications as the result of flu shots. If you are in good health and have had a flu shot in previous years there will not likely be any problem. However if you do have some of the aforementioned health conditions you should consult your doctor to see if you should get a flu shot.

To avoid getting the flu you should follow some precautions. Wash your hands often and carry some hand sanitizer to use when you can,t wash. Avoid crowded public places and stay clear of anyone who is coughing or sneezing or appears unwell. The flu virus is very contagious and is easily passed around by an infected person coughing or sneezing and releasing droplets of fluid into the air.

If you have a chronic illness you should be particularly careful to avoid the flu. It can lead to complications such as pneumonia, dehydration and can aggravate conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart failure. This can lead to serious illness or even death. Normally healthy individuals will recover within a week usually and have little serious risk of any complications.

Those who should get a flu shot are:

1. People over 65 including particularly those in resident care or nursing homes.

2. Health care personnel and out of home caregivers.

3. Children from 6 to 24 months old.

4. Pregnant women or those who may become pregnant.

5. People from age 2 to 65 who have chronic health conditions such as diabetes or asthma.

6. Children from 6 months to 18 years who are on aspirin prescriptions.

Those who should Not Get flu shots are:

1. Anyone with an egg allergy.

2. People who have had a previous bad reaction to a flu shot.

3. People who are presently sick and feverish (they can get a shot after recovery)

4. Children under 6 months age.

5. Anyone who has previously developed Guillain-Barre syndrome within 6 months after a flu shot.

Influenza vaccinations are very worthwhile for most of us and definitely cut down the risk of developing influenza. They also shorten the length and severity of any flu we do acquire.