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It’s hard to think about that flu season is, in fact, upon us.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention flu tracker, so far this year, 18 states have reported sporadic flu activity. Thankfully, the risk of getting sick is still fairly low – which means it’s the perfect time to get the flu shot, since it takes two weeks for the vaccine to become effective.
Even though the CDC advises everyone over the age of six months (if you’re reading this, you qualify) to get the shot, not everyone is on-board with it. Last year, a survey from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) found that 43 percent of Americans said they would not be getting the vaccine.
So, will you or won’t you get the flu shot? And if not, why? That’s what members are talking about this week on the Your Well-Being: Ages 60 Plus message board – an age range, we might add, that is particularly susceptible to complications from the flu, including death.
Most people on the board said that they plan on getting the shot this year. iVillage member willow54sunset said that her dietary beliefs keep her from getting vaccinated. “Since the flu vaccine has some part(s) of an egg in it, and I am vegan, it is against my religion,” she said.
A recent study in The Lancet reported that the flu shot is only about 59 percent effective in adults between the ages of 18 and 65. The newer nasal spray flu vaccine, by contrast, is about 83 percent effective in children ages six months to seven years.
Still, on the boards, those who get the vaccine every year say they either haven’t been sick since, or, when they do come down with a bug, the symptoms are much milder.
Since one out of five people will become infected with the flu every season, you’re still lowering your risk substantially by getting the shot. And, since flu symptoms can lie dormant for up to four days after exposure, you could be rubbing elbows with someone who is sick and doesn’t even know it.
That said, I still haven’t gotten a flu shot in my life, though every year I do say I’m going to. I’ve asked about it at my doctors’ office, and was told they don’t offer them – which I found completely mind-boggling. I did go so far as to ask my local pharmacy about the shot, and was told last year that they had run out. This year may be the year for it, though. What about you? Where do you weigh in on the flu shot?