Young, Healthy Adults Need Yearly Flu Shots, Too

Flu shotIf you’re like many young, healthy people, you may wonder whether you really need a yearly flu shot. Or you might worry that the vaccine itself could give you the flu.

In a study of college students, the number one reason cited for not getting a flu shot was fear of being infected by the vaccine. Yet that’s impossible. Flu vaccines given by shot are made with either deactivated flu viruses or no flu viruses at all. And any side effects you may experience after getting the vaccine will be mild compared with a bad case of the flu.

Here’s the bottom line: Even if you’re young and healthy, you still get important benefits from the vaccine. Below are three great reasons for getting a flu shot this year.

Reason 1: To Protect Your Own Health

The flu is a viral illness that can cause fever, chills, coughing, a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. And sometimes the flu leads to serious complications (such as pneumonia), hospitalization, or even death. The flu vaccine reduces your risk of becoming ill.

Reason 2: To Cut Down on Sick Days

In the U.S., the flu is responsible for nearly 17 million missed workdays each flu season. If you’re employed, the flu vaccine helps decrease sick days and lost work output. If you’re a student, it helps reduce missed classes and lost academic productivity.

Reason 3: To Protect Those Around You

By reducing your own chance of catching and spreading the flu virus, you’re helping protect others as well. Some people are particularly vulnerable to serious flu-related problems. They include babies and young children, older adults, and people with certain health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and chronic lung disease. When you get the flu vaccine, you’re reducing the risk for your family, friends, and neighbors.

Find a Primary Care Provider

Building a relationship with a primary care provider (PCP) can help you stay healthy. Learn how we’re changing the conversation in primary care here, and how you can find a PCP who’s right for you