Can Getting the Flu Shot Really Make a Difference?

Every year there seems to be a new strain of the flu that we have to deal with. The symptoms may vary and the severity of it may also be either more or less brutal than the previous version, but the choice of whether to get a flu shot or not is the dilemma we have to decide.

Every day in the news reports will pop up as to the number of deaths that have occurred as a result of the current flu. It is always stressed that children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems should get themselves vaccinated in order to best deal with getting the flu. The premise is that if you get the flu shot, even if you do get the flu you will be able to survive it.

But many people don’t believe in getting the flu shot because many of these shots contain a live version of the disease. Injecting your body with the actual flu is supposed to help you better able to fight it off while it is still a milder version. The truth of the matter is it is not a live version of the flu and you cannot develop the flu from a non-live virus. You may get some type of response to the shot but not the actual flu.

According to Dr. Michael Chang, who is a specialist of infectious diseases in Houston, Texas, the best thing is to get the flu shot at the beginning of the season. It takes a couple of weeks, sometimes up to three, for the flu to develop in full force. This is why it is not even possible for you to get the flu the day after you get a flu shot. Chances are you were exposed to the illness prior to getting vaccinated.

Doctors do agree that the true purpose of getting a flu shot is not to prevent getting sick, it is to cut down on the severity of the symptoms. They also believe that when a group of people gets the flu shot it dilutes the symptoms which would help those who really need the flu shot but are unable to get one because they are dealing with severe illnesses or conditions already. That would include those with cancer or anyone who has had any kind of an organ transplant.

Getting a flu shot is always a personal decision that you should discuss with your physician. He or she has your medical history and can best help you decide what to do. There are usually many places you can go to get your flu shot and the cost can go from around $20 to completely free.