Pros and Cons of the Flu Shot

One of the new annual events that the general population gets to enjoy is the encouragement to get a flu shot. Although influenza is a very common seasonal virus, it is often treated much less seriously than it should be. The flu can be deadly and it does kill people every season. Children and the elderly are particularly at risk, but any strain of flu can be deadly to anyone. This is why building up antibodies against the expected strains of flu for a season is so important.

Although most medical professionals will tout the pros of getting a flu shot as the reasons to get them, there are some cons to consider as well.

The Pros of the Flu Shot

1. It can protect people against certain types of influenza.
Although the flu shot is not really a vaccine, it can help to activate a person’s immune system to be ready for the flu virus if it should show up. This might not prevent people from getting sick, but it can make the virus less effective and that could be enough to save someone’s life.

2. It is widely available and affordable.
Even without health insurance, most people in the developed world today can get a flu shot for less than $30. These shots can be obtained from pharmacists and other providers as well, which means a visit to the doctor and its associated costs aren’t required either. This allows all population demographics better access.

3. It has few side effects.
Because weakened influenza virus is being put into the body, there is a small chance that recipients of the flu shot may experience mild flu-like symptoms. This usually lasts for a day or two. Site reactions, including redness and swelling, may also happen.

The Cons of the Flu Shot

1. Not everyone can get a flu shot.
Because the influenza virus is incubated through the use of egg proteins, people who are allergic to eggs are generally not eligible to receive the flu shot. There may be alternative delivery systems available, but not every community may have nasal sprays or other shot variations available for those who are allergic to shot components.

2. It may not be effective at all.
Medical professionals never know what flu virus is going to be dominant during the upcoming flu season. Because the shots must be made at the end of the previous flu season, it really is a guessing game. The flu virus can also mutate unexpectedly and create new strains that aren’t even included in the flu shot.

3. There is a small chance for serious side effects.
Although the serious side effects of a flu shot don’t include fatalities, there is a rare chance that certain neurological issues may develop from receiving the shot. These issues are typically short-term in nature, but could lat for several months.

The flu shot, for better or worse, is one of the most effective ways we have today to combat this often deadly virus. Weigh the pros and cons of getting a flu shot today so that when the flu season hits, you’ll know what to do.

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