Which flu vaccine should you get?

Which flu vaccine should you get?

- in Health

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Flu specialists have stepped up their reminders about flu vaccines after fresh numbers showed the U.S. had its deadliest flu season in decades, with 80,000 people dead and a record number of hospitalizations.

Just about everyone is advised to get an influenza vaccine, and people need a fresh one every year.

Flu is a major killer. This past flu season showed just how bad it can get: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says flu killed 80,000 people in 2017-2018, including 180 children, and put 900,000 into the hospital.

Here’s some guidance about flu vaccines:

Do I really need one?

The unequivocal answer is yes. Every major medical organization recommends getting a flu vaccine every year. Even if the vaccine doesn’t completely prevent infection, it can make it less serious. “That old thing, ‘I got the flu shot and I still got the flu’? Well you know what? You didn’t die,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said at a news conference in September.

According to the latest CDC numbers, fewer than half of Americans, about 47 percent, got a flu vaccine last year. The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October.

I never get the flu, so why do I need the shot?

Influenza causes a range of symptoms and it doesn’t knock everyone flat. People can have mild influenza and still function, going to work or school. But those people are spreading the virus to those who are more vulnerable. “Those 80,000 people who died from flu last year? Guess what? They got it from someone,” Adams said.

Many of the people who die from flu every year, including young children, were perfectly healthy before they became infected. Plus, this could be the year you do get infected and miss two weeks of work, or worse, end up in the hospital.

Pregnant women, especially, need a flu shot. It can protect their babies when they are first born and pregnant women are especially susceptible to severe flu symptoms, in part because their immune systems are suppressed and in part because the growing fetus presses against the lungs. Flu in pregnancy can also cause miscarriages.


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