Flu shot or not?

Yes. I made that sound so simple. Yes. Yes, you should get the flu vaccine. There I go again with the simplicity. Let’s start with the contraindications for the flu vaccine, in accordance with the CDC and a medical resource called UpToDate.

Please don’t get the flu vaccine if you have a fever, are allergic to eggs, chicken, or chicken feathers, are on some type of immunocompromising medications/treatments without being cleared by your specialist (some examples include chemo, radiation, medications for Psoriasis, etc), are less than 6 months in age, if you’ve every had anything called Guillain-Barre Syndrome, or if you’ve had any prior serious reactions to the flu vaccine.

Yes. Please get the flu vaccine. Oh goodness, the simplicity. Is it really that easy of a decision? Here’s my take on the flu vaccine and why everyone should be vaccinated.

As health care providers, our number one goal against the flu is the flu vaccine. Yes, you can absolutely still get the flu even if you have received the vaccine? No, the flu vaccine does not give you the flu. So, why in the world should you get the flu vaccine? Receiving the flu vaccine gives your body enough of a defense to reduce your risk of getting terribly infected and if you end up infected, it reduces the amount of time your sick and it reduces your risk of hospitalization and death from the flu itself.

People die from the flu each year. But there are some other complications that can arise after the flu infection. Many people who are hospitalized for the flu end up with pneumonia after the flu. If you’re an overall health individual, young, and on maybe 1 or 2 medications, you’ll probably stay a couple of days in the hospital and be discharged on some antibiotics, cough medicine, and maybe a steroid. But if you don’t fall into this category (if you have any chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, COPD, or asthma), you’re looking at up to 2 weeks in the hospital. In between breathing treatments, chest x-rays, CT scans, IV fluids, IV antibiotics, IV steroids, and consults with various medical providers asking you a thousand questions a day, you’re stuck with chest pain, shortness of breath, fever, fatigue, weakness, and a persistent cough until you’re finally healed and ready to go home. For a simple cost and time comparison, taking 5 minutes to get the flu vaccine has saved you time and money, maybe even your life itself.

Here’s my prayer during the flu season: Lord, I pray that my patients get their flu vaccine and that I am able to thoroughly explain the flu vaccine and answer all of their questions. Lord, I pray that those who are unable or unwilling to get the flu vaccine are kept behind your shield of armor. Lastly Lord, for those who are infected, may they seek you for comfort, healing, and peace on their road to recovery.

Check out the CDC for more information: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/index.html

Also checkout medscape: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/918053

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