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Should you get a flu shot? (A: Yes!)

Winter is coming and, among other things, this means the annual rounds of the flu. The simple flu vaccine is the easiest way to avoid suffering this winter.

Authorities suggest that everyone above the age of six months should get a flu vaccine. People who are at risk of particular illnesses should especially ensure that they get the vaccine, including those with asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease. Pregnant women and everyone over 65 especially should make sure they get the shot.

The vaccine is safe and, contrary to a common misperception, cannot give you the flu. The worst side effect is usually minor irritation near the inoculation site. Low grade fever and some aching is an occasional side effect, but rare. Compared with the flu itself, the vaccine is a breeze.

While flu season traditionally peaks in January and February, it can begin as early as October and continue as late as May. It is necessary to get a flu shot every year because each year different influenza viruses circulate.

The timing and severity, as well as the length of the epidemic, vary annually. The vaccines attempt to address the flu viruses that are most likely to spread. The more people who receive the vaccine, the less severe the outbreak will be.

Although the vaccine significantly reduces the likelihood of getting sick, it does not guarantee a flu-free season. Antiviral drugs can make the flu’s effects less severe and prevent complications as serious as pneumonia.

The flu vaccine is simple and almost painless but it can save you days or weeks of winter misery. For your flu vaccine, drop in to Dr. Monam Medical Clinic. No appointment is ever necessary.

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