I have a confession: I've never gotten a flu shot. 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. 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?
Like most everyone, I'm feel like I'm always overcome with different information. Some people say you get a little sick after getting the vaccine, other flu shot veterans say it hurts worse than your average prick, and then there are those who say as a healthy woman in my mid-20s, I should be just fine.
Well according to the CDC, everyone over 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine, unless you're allergic. But that's the thing, how many of us always do as we're told?
Take a look at these 10 flu shot pros and cons to help you make the best decision for yourself:
Flu shot pros:
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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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?
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.
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!
Getting it now will keep you at the office: Why use sick days with the flu when you could avoid getting it altogether?
Flu shot cons:
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.
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.
Protection isn't immediate: It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to really kick in.
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.
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.
Will you be getting a flu shot this year?
Image via USACE Europe District/Flickr