By: Heather Harada, Program Coordinator, Keiro
While it’s never fun to be poked with needles, flu season is just around the corner. Getting your annual flu vaccine can significantly lower your risk of getting the flu.1 And unlike some other vaccines which can protect you for upwards of five to ten years, it’s important to get the flu vaccine each year. The flu vaccine changes depending on what strains of the influenza virus are predicted to be most prevalent in the upcoming flu season.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health organizations recommend that everyone get the flu shot, including the young and healthy.2 Not only does doing so protect you, getting vaccinated can also help protect those who are most vulnerable – older adults, young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions or weak immune systems.
The shot is the most common form of the flu vaccine. However, it is also available as a nasal spray or egg-free (for those allergic to eggs). Older adults and those at greatest risk can receive a high-dose vaccine.3 Be sure to check with your health care provider prior to getting the vaccine, especially if you would like one of the alternative forms.
Now where can you get the flu shot? Typically, your doctor will be able to provide it for you. You can also check Google’s HealthMap Vaccine Finder (flushot.healthmap.org) for drug stores and health care providers near you that offer the vaccine. Make sure to ask if the pharmacy accepts your health insurance.
When I was a kid, my pediatrician always used a cute band-aid and gave me a sugar-free lollipop after I got a shot. Needless to say, I’ve continued that tradition whenever I have to get a shot or blood drawn. So don’t forget to treat yourself a little after getting your flu vaccine, especially if you aren’t too fond of needles!
For more information, check out the National Council on Aging’s “Flu + You” (https://www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/flu-you/) and the CDC’s 2015-2016 Flu Season page (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/upcoming.htm).
About the Author:
Heather Harada is the Program Coordinator for the Aratani Research Institute at Keiro. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Science degree in Gerontology from the University of Southern California. In her spare time, Heather enjoys cooking, hiking, and travelling.
The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. Full disclaimer