Every year, flu season returns, bringing many questions about the flu and the flu shot. If you are like most people, you probably have a few questions or concerns about the topic. Are you looking for some clarity? If so, you’ve come to the right place. These family medicine specialists in Northwest Indiana discuss some of the key things you should know about the flu below, helping you stay well-informed and safe this flu season.

Should I get the flu shot even if I’ve never had the flu?

Yes – just because you have not had the flu before does not mean you are safe from getting it again this flu season. The influenza virus mutates and presents new strains every year. This continual change means you are always at risk of getting infected, especially during peak flu seasons.

The flu shot significantly lowers your chances of catching the flu. And if you do still end up getting the flu despite receiving the shot, it will likely be less severe, ensuring fewer complications and a faster recovery.

Will the flu shot guarantee I won’t get the flu?

While having complete immunity against the flu would be ideal, no vaccine can guarantee 100% protection. However, this does not take away from the value of the flu vaccination.

The flu shot still does a fantastic job of lowering your chances of contracting the influenza virus. And if you still get the flu, it will probably be milder and shorter. This means less sick time and a faster return to your daily routines.

Should children get the flu shot?

Absolutely. Children spend a lot of time in places like schools where germs spread easily. Most family medicine specialists in Northwest Indiana recommend that children as young as six months get the flu shot. This helps keep children safe from the flu and prevents its further spread.

Should older people consider a stronger flu shot?

As we age, our immune system starts showing signs of wear and tear, making infections a bigger concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), acknowledging this fact, suggests that people 65 and older get a high-dose or adjuvanted influenza vaccine. These stronger doses can strengthen the immune response, offering improved protection against the influenza strains of the season.

Can the flu shot give me the flu?

This myth has been floating around for quite some time, but the truth is that the flu shot cannot, and will not, give you the flu. It stimulates your immune system to fend off the flu, not to introduce it to your body.

It is worth mentioning that some people might notice mild side effects post-vaccination — maybe a sore arm or a slight fever. But these are not symptoms of the flu. These mild reactions are your body reacting to the shot and building defenses. If you are experiencing an allergic reaction following your flu shot, you should contact your family medicine specialist in Northwest Indiana as soon as possible.

Is it better to get the flu and build natural immunity?

Intuitively, some people assume that getting the flu is the best way to gain immunity against it. But the flu can be very unpredictable, with some cases being mild and others leading to severe, sometimes life-threatening complications. This is especially true for certain groups like children, older people, or those with pre-existing conditions.

Why take the risk when the vaccine provides a tested and safer route to immunity?

Looking for an Affordable Family Medicine Specialist in Northwest Indiana?

At 219 Health Network, our family medicine specialists do everything we can to ensure your health and well-being – especially during challenging times like the cold and flu season. To learn more about how we can help, or to schedule an appointment to get your flu shot, contact us today at 833-219-0001.