Five fascinating facts about the flu shot

(NC) -- Many of us still have issues surrounding the flu shot even though it's been around for years. Questions include what it is, how it works, and whether or not it is necessary.

“Getting this vaccine is one of the most important things you can do to prevent the flu,” says Bowen Chen, a pharmacist. “It can prevent illness in 70 to 90 per cent of healthy children and adults – that's a huge number.”

Here are five quick facts to help you make your decision:

1. Everyone over age six months should get a flu shot.

2. Each year, a different flu vaccine is created to be effective against the current virus strain, so it's important to get a flu shot every year.

3. The best time to do it is in September or October, before flu season starts in November. It takes two weeks for the shot to be most effective, so you can still get one in December or later, but earlier shots give you better odds of staying flu-free

4. The benefits of getting the flu shot outweigh the risks: the shot cannot cause the flu as it does not contain a live virus, but some recipients may experience mild fever or soreness at the site of injection.

5. The flu shot is effective in preventing influenza as it causes antibodies to develop in your body. These antibodies provide protection against infection. Best of all, says Chen, you can get the flu shot at your pharmacy and no appointment is necessary. So on your next visit to pick up prescriptions, or to buy over-the-counter medications, be sure to ask for a flu shot too.


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