The flu vaccine is common enough, but there are still many people who aren't getting one. Should you be lining up?
In a word - yes. According to federal health agency recommendations, pretty much anyone over the age of 6 months should get the shot this winter season. While this is a very simple, black and white answer, many Americans are skipping this step in their healthcare due to widespread misconceptions about the vaccine.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "between five percent and 20 percent of American people get the flu every year and an average of 200,000 people are hospitalized annually due to flu related symptoms. Many of those sicknesses and hospitalizations could be avoided if more people got vaccinated."
In response to these numbers, the National Consumers League recently did a study and uncovered how few Americans are getting the vaccine and why they're choosing to forgo the shot. Here are a few:
"One in five Americans say they have not received the flu vaccine because they do not believe the flu is a serious illness. The flu is a serious illness and results in deaths every year. While adults over 65, children under two, and people with serious medical conditions have the highest risk of suffering additional complications after getting the flu, everyone can succumb to flu-related symptoms that result in hospitalization or death. From 2004-2008, 830 children died from flu-related complications, 43 percent of those children had no high-risk medical condition.
One in five parents do not get vaccinated because they fear the vaccine can give them the flu. According to the CDC, the flu vaccine CANNOT give you the flu. Medical professionals universally agree that the flu vaccination is safe and the best chance Americans have to avoid contracting the virus. The most likely side effects are soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was administered.
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