By ANJA KLOKOCKA
The seasons are changing in metro Atlanta, so more and more people are running to their doctors and local pharmacies to get their yearly flu shot. But is it really worth it?
According to Harvard University’s health publications, 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year in the US alone because of the flu.
Even with this bone-chilling statistic, many people still have questions. Should they get the flu shot? Will it truly protect them? Or are there other ways to be protected that may be more natural?
Respiratory therapist Farzana Unwala said, “I believe the flu shot is important for people working in health care to have yearly as they are on the front lines taking care of patients. These people on the font lines include doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists. I think it is also important for elderly to have a yearly flu shot, as their immune system can be lower or compromised. “
Many places of business offer free flu shots for their employees as do many pharmacies. This allows easy access but many people do not do the research before getting their flu shot. Is it truly necessary for them to get it?
“I do not feel that most young adults or healthy individuals need to have a yearly flu shot,” said Unwala.
It is not recommended to take the flu shot if you already have a fever or are feeling sick. If you are thinking about taking the flu shot, know that there could be negative reactions, although they are not common. Side effects can range from mild reactions, such as being sore, to more severe reactions such as aches, pains, headaches, or a fever. The most severe reactions could entail hives, trouble of breathing, accelerated heart rate and dizziness. Again, those negative reactions are not very common.
“No one can get the flu from the shot because it is an attenuated vaccine and not a live virus vaccine,” said registered nurse Shannon Anderson.
There are people who may still have concerns about taking the flu shot because of its side effects.
“If someone wants to try to avoid getting the flu naturally, they will need to take Vitamin C, eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of sleep,” said Anderson. “However, there is no guarantee you will not get the flu because it is very contagious and there are different strains.”