Flu shots are worth it

December 28, 2016

(HealthDay)—The flu can be a serious threat to your health, but you can protect yourself by getting a flu shot, health experts say.

"The can reduce the risk of hospitalization and severe disease due to the in addition to reducing the incidence or severity," said Kevin Harrod. He's a professor in the department of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The is especially beneficial to children, the elderly, people with underlying chronic disease, such as heart disease, and women during and after pregnancy, he added.

About 970,000 Americans were hospitalized due to the flu in 2014, and more than 40 million were affected by flu-related illnesses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During recent flu seasons, up to 90 percent of flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 and older.

This year's vaccine protects against that experts predict will be most common. Those include two influenza A viruses (H1N1 and H3N2) and select influenza B viruses, Harrod said.

"While getting the flu shot may not keep you from getting the flu, it will limit the severity and duration of the illness, and provide you with some protection against future infections in subsequent seasons," Harrod said in a university news release.

Even when the vaccine is a "bad match" for the flu strains that develop, it offers partial protection, he added.

"One's immune system can make antibodies that still recognize and bind to the influenza virus even when new strains emerge unexpectedly," Harrod explained.

Explore further: There's still time for your flu shot

More information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on flu vaccination.

Related Stories

There's still time for your flu shot

December 23, 2016

(HealthDay)—Flu needn't spoil the start of the new year, say U.S. health officials who urge children and adults to get vaccinated.

Expert advises preparing for flu season now

September 13, 2016

The news that the nasal spray form of the influenza vaccine will not be available this year should not stop anyone from getting vaccinated against the flu virus, according to an expert at Baylor College of Medicine's Influenza ...

CDC tweaking flu vaccine for better protection

June 5, 2015

(HealthDay)—Having acknowledged that the 2014-2015 flu vaccine was mismatched to the circulating influenza strains, U.S. health officials have ramped up next season's shots for broader protection.

It's not too late to get a flu shot

December 30, 2015

(HealthDay)—Anyone who hasn't had a flu shot this season should make a point to get vaccinated now, U.S. health officials advise.

Recommended for you

$460-mn vaccine push to 'outsmart' viruses

January 19, 2017

With the world still reeling from outbreaks of deadly Ebola and baby-deforming Zika, governments and charities launched a $460-million (431 million-euro) initiative Thursday to "outsmart" infectious epidemics.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.