Like it or not, winter is just around the corner. And you know what that means, don’t you? Yup, that’s right—we’re heading into flu season. That means it’s time for you to receive your yearly flu shot.
However, if you’re like a great deal of people, you may have no intentions or plans to get one. Maybe you don’t think it’s necessary. Maybe you know that coming out with a yearly flu vaccine is an…ahem…shot in the dark for the medical industry, as there’s no telling for sure what strains of flu will spread this time around. Maybe you are afraid of getting the vaccine or simply don’t want to get one.
However, if you have diabetes and are able to be vaccinated, you may want to reconsider; your diabetes makes it especially important for you to get a flu shot every fall.
People with chronic health conditions like diabetes are at increased risk of experiencing complications from the flu. It’s bad enough to be stuck in bed and feel miserable for several days, but because you have diabetes, you are also more likely to face hospitalization or even death as a result of flu-induced pneumonia or some other serious complication.
Additionally, getting the flu can affect your blood sugar and throw off your diabetes management, whereas staying healthy can prevent that. Getting the shot also helps keep your immunity up, as the flu can weaken your immune system, especially if you are in your senior years.
The flu shot is often widely available through pharmacies, walk-in clinics, doctors’ offices, health departments, schools, and even workplaces. They can be administered fairly quickly, and chances are good that your health insurance will cover the cost. Eggless versions are also available for those with allergies.
Contrary to popular belief, getting the flu shot does not cause you to get sick with the flu, as the virus is dead or weakened in most vaccines. Mild side effects may include low-grade fever, muscle aches, pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, but this is typically short-lived.
Even if you do get the flu (as a result of the vaccine not being 100 percent effective or as a result of being infected with a strain you weren’t protected against), you are still less likely to get seriously ill from it or suffer from complications.
The CDC recommends that most people six months and older receive an annual flu vaccine in late October, as immunity takes about two weeks to kick in and flu season typically peaks during the winter months (though it can start as early as October and last until May). However, you can still be vaccinated at any point during flu season.
So make sure you go out there and get your flu shot; your body will thank you for it!
A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.