With last year’s flu season causing over 80,000 American deaths, 1 it seems more Americans would be alert to the dangers of the flu season. A Walgreens survey found that 70% of Americans are planning to get the flu shot, but 32% said they hadn’t been vaccinated in at least three years even though most said someone in their family had suffered from the flu in recent years. 2 What’s worse is that about 37% of those surveyed said they had actually gone to work while having the flu.2 So while at least half of Americans expect this flu season to be the same or even worse than last year’s season,2 some people are still not protecting themselves or others by staying home when sick or getting vaccinated ahead of time.
The flu can be very dangerous. Yes, it is common, and most Americans recover, but the flu can land someone in the hospital or even kill them. Of course, the elderly and children are more at risk, but it’s not impossible for a healthy person in their 30s to end up severely ill or even dead.
So what can you do? “The CDC recommends that those who plan to get vaccinated against the flu get their vaccines at least two weeks before the season starts. It can take about two weeks for the body to form antibodies to fight the flu after the vaccine is administered, according to the CDC.”3 If you do come down with the flu, stay home and go to the doctor. Not only will you be taking care of yourself, but you will be protecting those with whom you would interact.
Unfortunately, getting the flu vaccine doesn’t mean you won’t get the flu. Labs formulate the vaccine based on the top virus strains they think will be most common, but strains mutate. 39% of Americans surveyed in the Walgreens study even said they avoided getting the vaccine because they believe it to be ineffective.2
What’s great is that some employers and schools offer the vaccine, with other places host drives to give the vaccine to people who need it. Health clinics and some pharmacies also offer the vaccine.3 That said if you want the vaccine, there are many locations offering it so that Americans can stay safe this flu season.
1. Macaela Mackenzie, This Year’s Flu Season Could Be Deadly: How to Prepare Yourself (Allure.com, https://www.allure.com/story/deadly-flu-season-symptoms)
2. David Salazar, Walgreens survey finds 70% of Americans planning to get flu shot (Drugstorenews.com, https://www.drugstorenews.com/pharmacy/walgreens-survey-finds-70-of-americans-planning-to-get-flu-shot/)
3. Nina Godlewski, Flu Season 2018-19: When, Where to Get Your Shot, How Bad Will It Be This Year (Newsweek.com, https://www.newsweek.com/flu-season-2018-2019-shots-predictions-vaccine-when-available-1104763)