As we approach the colder months of the year, like December and January, flu season is soon to follow. Patients that fall victim to the flu will experince many symptoms varying from aches, sore throat, sneezing, and exhaustion. If the 2019 season is anything like last year, over 43 million cases of influenza, many of your patients may be at risk. One way your patients can protect themselves and their families is by receiving the flu shot. Before your patients commit to a flu vaccine, they may have a few questions. 

I’m already healthy, do I really need the flu vaccine?

Even if your patient is convinced that they don’t ever get sick, emphasize that the flu is a contagious disease. Although they may remain “healthy,” they can spread the infection to those who are at high risk such as adults over the age of 65 and children under the age of 2. Getting vaccinated prevents the people that are the closest to you from getting sick. 

Will the flu shot give me the flu?

There are often side effects associated with the flu shot, such as redness from the shot, muscle aches, and even a fever. Although these side effects may seem like the flu, be sure to emphasize to your patients that it’s not influenza. However, even with the vaccine, your patients can still catch viruses that are not associated with the flu. Be sure to caution your patients that the vaccine takes two weeks to become effective, so they will want to take preventative measures. 

I got vaccinated last year, do I need another shot?

The influenza viruses from last year won’t be the same strain as this year. Flu viruses will often change quite frequently. The seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect patients against three to four strains of flu that are most likely to spread. Every year the composition of the vaccine is updated based on the data from 100 national influenza centers in over 100 countries. By getting a new vaccine every year, you receive the best possible protection against the most recent strain.