Who Should Get Flu Shots?
Flu shots are offered by pharmacies, health clinics, and doctor’s offices. Some companies even arrange for nurses to come on-site and vaccinate their employees. How do you decide if you should get one?
Flu shots are the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination, and these antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
It is recommended for everyone to get one, and especially the elderly, the young, and pregnant women.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t get a flu shot?
You should always check with your doctor, but in general, you should not receive a flu shot if you:
- Have had a bad reaction to the vaccine in the past
- Ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome
- Are allergic to chicken eggs, or
- Are not feeling well or have a fever that day
Another option is the nasal spray flu vaccine. It is approved for people 2 – 49 years old, and is a viable option for those with egg allergies. Again, check with your doctor first.
Did you know that athletes can use a flu shot to their benefit?
A University of Birmingham study showed that a short muscle-building session before receiving a flu shot can enhance the immune system’s response to the vaccine. Sixty college students took part in this study. A group of the students performed about 25 minutes of upper arm exercises 6 hours before the shot, while the others were sedentary. For the next five months, all of the participants had blood samples taken to measure cellular immune response. The researchers found that the acute stress of exercise can enhance a person’s antibody production.
If flu shots are not offered where you work, most local pharmacies offer them without an appointment. The flu vaccine cost is often covered by healthcare insurance, and if not, it is usually very reasonable.