For all of the moms who were working on last-minute Halloween costumes and filling grocery carts full of candy; for all of you busy young professionals who barely have time to grab a banana for breakfast; and for the grandmothers who are busy making pumpkin pies or raking leaves – it’s time to get that flu shot.
You already know that influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and, in extreme cases, death. Flu season can start as early as October, which is why pharmacies and doctors’ offices have begun advertising their services. During a regular flu season, approximately 90% of flu-related deaths occur in people 65 years and older, which means that we should all encourage loved-ones in this age range to get a flu shot.
Even though flu viruses have lingered in our society for hundreds of years – killing hundreds in recent pandemics – many still forego vaccination. Until this year, I was one of those people. I received my last flu shot when I was in my teens, and the needle made my muscles so tender, I refused to ever get vaccinated of my own volition.
I was anti-anti-flu.
In college, I came down with the flu over Christmas break. I was working with children at the time, and the strain of influenza that gripped me brought me into a delirious and feverish state. Dragging myself from my bed to the shower, I kept my fever at bay by submerging myself in cold water repeatedly.
In retrospect, it would have been much easier – and much less painful – to have gotten the flu shot; but the memory of that one shot kept me from making a healthy decision. Since then, I haven’t been infected with the flu virus, but I have grown more open to preventative measures. Last week, when I saw an advertisement at my local pharmacy that claimed “Flu shots! Now with needles 90% smaller!” I was skeptical at first, but pleasantly surprised to find that the shot was much less painful than I remembered.
It turns out, however, that there are actually two different options this year!
Check Out These (Relatively) Painless Flu Prevention Options
- Intradermal Shot– This needle is only 10% of the size of a regular needle. This is the type of shot I received, and my muscles were much less sore afterwards. However, this is only available for people between the ages of 18 and 64.
- Nasal-Spray– An option for those aged 2 to 49 that is made from live, weakened flu viruses, rather than the dead viruses used in shots. For this reason, the nasal-spray is only recommended for healthy people and not pregnant women.
A Special Tip for Seniors
Those older than 65 can ask their doctors about getting the high potency shot. (You may have heard of this last year.) This stronger dose has a better chance at stimulating a declined immune system.
Remember, the flu shot is still only about 60% effective in preventing the flu.
About the Author:
Brenda Watson enjoys writing about health topics and is especially interested in women’s health issues. She currently contributes to blogs like healthinsurancequotes.org. If you enjoyed this article, let Brenda know by leaving a comment!