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Immunizations are a vital part of growing up, and they've done a great job at eradicating childhood illnesses. But reaching adulthood doesn't mean you're immune to other diseases. During the fall and winter, it's important to protect yourself against the flu, no matter what your health status. If you're still unsure about whether you need it or if it will do any good, here are three huge advantages to getting a flu shot as well as who will benefit.
Reduces Your Risk
Every year, the effectiveness of flu vaccines is measured and reported by the CDC. But in healthy adults, your overall chances of catching the flu if you're vaccinated are reduced by about 60%. Efficacy may drop for those under the age of two or past middle age, but here's the thing.
Even if you catch the flu, being vaccinated can greatly diminish your symptoms. And if you're elderly and living at home, your chances of being hospitalized from this illness drops by as much as 70%. If you live in a nursing home, you're 80% less likely to die from flu complications.
Protects Those with Chronic Disease
No vaccination is guaranteed to be 100% effective, but the flu shot can be highly beneficial for those who suffer with certain diseases.
A published study examined elderly patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Those with CKD are more likely to be hospitalized from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Just over half of the participants received the flu shot while the other half went without. Those who were inoculated were less likely to be hospitalized with complications from CVD. This reduced risk was documented across the board, no matter the patient's age, gender, or the time of season.
Those with other health issues like diabetes; chronic lung disease; HIV; obesity; asthma; blood, liver, metabolic, seizure, and endocrine disorders; and those on aspirin therapy also see a reduction in symptoms and hospitalizations when vaccinated for the flu.
Children who have underlying health problems are 51% less likely to die of complications from the flu when vaccinated. And that number only climbs among healthy children.
Offers Protection for Pregnant Moms and Their Babies
Women who are pregnant are at a greater risk of getting the flu, and it often hits them harder than others because of the many changes going on inside the body. In fact, pregnant women are often hospitalized and at risk for preterm birth when they catch the flu.
The CDC recommends that pregnant women get flu shots to reduce the likelihood of contracting the disease. And the good news is that not only are moms protected, but those antibodies in the vaccine get passed to the baby, offering them protection for a while after birth.
Contact a medical center, like Nacogdoches Family Medicine, for more help.