Get a Flu Shot
With the continuous remodeling of healthcare and health insurance, it seems as if there is little I can do other than ride the waves of change like so much flotsam and jetsam.
But I don’t want to be beach debris. I want a more active role in my health care and that is why I get a flu shot every fall and insist that my family members do, too.
Vaccination against the seasonal flu—inexpensive, safe and effective
Starting as early as September, flu shots are available almost everywhere. You do not even need a doctor’s appointment; the vaccinations can be obtained at grocery stores, drug stores, college health centers, public health departments, and sometimes at your place of work. Look around. I get mine at a local grocery store, along with a coupon for 10% off my next grocery purchase. 🙂
Since 2010, thanks to Obamacare, the flu shot is considered a preventive health service so it is
free prepaid. If you have health insurance, the vaccination will not—should not—cost you any more out of pocket. Take advantage of what you’ve already paid for.
If you do not have health insurance, call your local public health department and ask about free or reduced-cost vaccination.
A flu shot typically costs between $25 and $45. The blog Frugal Dad posted a great infographic on the cost of a flu shot versus the cost of getting the flu. Even a mild case of flu means lost work hours; a serious case requires hospitalization. And, yes, people die from the flu every year.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends flu vaccination for everyone over the age of 6 months, especially pregnant women.
You cannot get the flu from the shot. You might get a sore arm around the injection site; apply an ice pack for 15 minutes and take a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If you are vaccinated with the nasal spray, FluMist, you might experience a mild sore throat and/or headache. Again, take a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Every year, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely monitor the safety of the flu vaccine. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) also released a consensus report that concluded few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with the flu vaccine.
Once a year, every year
The flu vaccine is seasonal and its “recipe” changes every year, depending on what specific strains of flu viruses have been circulating earlier in the year. Some years the vaccine is “well matched”; some years not so much. But even a less-than-perfectly matched vaccine will offer protection or limit the severity of illness.
For more information about the safety and effectiveness of the flu vaccine, check out the CDC’s seasonal flu page.
But don’t wait too long—flu season is already under way!