Why You Should Get a Flu Shot
From the comments:
Tell me, really, if it's worth getting the shot. I've never gotten one and I just hit 60.Here's the deal: Influenza is spread:
I work at home, a telecommuter, but I do get out at least once a day. Previously when I worked out of an office, the others would get a shot and still get the flu. When the flu started its rounds, I worked from home.
Now I have gotten the flu---maybe three times in the last decade, but never [with] the frequency [of] my flu-shot co-workers.
So tell my again, why I should get the shot?
...from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. (This is called "droplet spread.") This can happen when droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person are propelled through the air and deposited on the mouth or nose of people nearby. Influenza viruses may also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else’s mouth or nose) before washing their hands.What this means, technically, is that if you have no contact with people during the entire time the influenza virus is in the community then no, you do not need to get a flu shot because you will never get the flu. The problem, of course, is that "little contact" is not the same as "no contact." In general, your chances of getting the flu ("chances" = statistically) are proportionate to the number of people with whom you come in contact. Thus, it makes perfect sense that your office co-workers would be more likely to contract the flu than you, the opportunistic telecommuter, regardless of immunization status.
What the flu shot does is reduce (note: not eliminate) your chances of getting sick with the flu if you are exposed to one of the strains in the vaccine. That's all. Bottom line is that it's a decision you have the right to make for yourself, given the above information, your own personal estimation of your risk for influenza (which most people tend to underestimate) and your tolerance for that risk.
Here's what I tell my patients:
I recommend the flu shot for anyone who doesn't want to get the flu.