10 Flu Shot Pros & Cons to Help Decide About Getting One or Not

Emily Abbate | Oct 15, 2012 Healthy Living
10 Flu Shot Pros & Cons to Help Decide About Getting One or Not

flu vaccine
USACE Europe District/Flickr
I have a confession to make: I've never gotten a flu shot. Yep, it's true. I've just always been skeptical. I've never actually gotten the flu, but I've also never lived in New York City ... until now, that is. And now that flu season is upon us, I can't help but wonder: Will this be the year I cave? Should I go through with getting the flu shot, or skip it yet again? And what are the pros and cons?

Like most everyone, I feel like I'm always bombarded with differing information. Some people say they get a little sick after getting the flu vaccine, other flu shot veterans say it hurts worse than the average immunization prick, and then there are those who say that, as a healthy woman in my mid-20s, I should be just fine without getting one. It's hard to know what to believe. 

Well, according to the CDC, everyone over 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine, unless the person is allergic. But, let's be honest here, how many of us always do as we're told (like, ahem, flossing our teeth every day)?

More from CafeMom: 15 No-Fail Ways to Stop Coughing Now

Well, we've rounded up some useful information about the flu shot here so that it's easier to make a more educated decision about whether or not to go ahead and get one. Read through these 10 flu shot pros and cons in order to make the best decision:

doctor getting a flu shot ready

Image via iStock.com/Amawasri

  • Pro: The flu vaccine can't give you the flu


    The vaccine is made from a seriously weakened form of the flu virus, which cannot give you influenza.

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  • Pro: This year's shot has three times the protection


    This year's vaccine has more than the H1N1 virus strain; it also has two other strains that were identified as possible contaminants for us here in the Northern hemisphere. Sounds promising, right?

  • Pro: You don't have to get pricked


    There's a nasal spray flu vaccine that's just as effective as the injection. The best part? It's approved for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49.

  • Pro: If you're a working lady, they're often free


    Many companies offer free flu shots. According to Reuters, 79 percent of employers with consumer-driven health plans offer free flu shots!

  • Pro: Getting it now will keep you at the office


    Why use sick days with the flu when you could avoid getting it altogether?

  • Con: It may not be safe for you


    If you are allergic to eggs, then the flu shot could be no-go for you. Why's that? The flu vaccine is cultivated inside of chicken eggs.

  • Con: Being flu-free isn't guaranteed


    I know, it's a sucky thing. However, just because you get the flu shot doesn't mean you're in the clear.

  • Con: Protection isn't immediate


    It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to really kick in.

  • Con: There could be some mercury in there


    A seasonal flu shot has small amounts of mercury added as a preservative. Mercury has been linked to certain brain and nerve disorders and that fact alone may make those on-the-fence about getting the shot uneasy.

  • Con: There can be side effects


    Some people develop symptoms ranging from soreness and swelling at the area of injection to low-grade fever and achiness. The good news? Generally these clear up within a day or two.

cold & flu

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