But do I really need to get the flu vaccine?
There are many benefits to getting the influenza vaccine. The flu vaccine can prevent you from getting sick from the flu. Vaccination also reduces the chances of flu-related hospitalizations from complications of the infection. As mentioned, vaccination during pregnancy protects the mother and her newborn, which is especially important as babies’ immune systems are not as strong as those older and can have much worse outcomes with infection. Though attempted, it is impossible for the vaccine to cover every single strain of the influenza virus that can infect an individual. If you’re infected but have gotten the flu shot, your symptoms will be milder and not as severe as if you are unvaccinated. Getting the vaccine reduces the chances that you will get the flu and that you will not pass it on to others.
Catching the flu can cause a very serious illness that can result in hospitalization and even death. Every year, nearly 100 children die in the U.S. from complications of getting the flu. Young children and individuals older than 65 are more likely to have worse symptoms from the infection than others. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches and headaches, nasal congestion, and feeling tired. Children are more likely to also have vomiting and diarrhea associated with the infection, compared to older age groups. You’re most likely to spread the infection one day before symptoms start and up to a week or more after. If you’re feeling these symptoms, believe your child is, or need to get the flu shot, see your primary care doctor or pediatrician.