Get Your Flu Shot

Flu (influenza) is a virus that affects the lungs, throat and nose, and may lead to death. These viruses spread when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk, sending droplets of the virus into the air and into the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. The best way to prevent flu is to get a flu shot each year. Wearing a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others can also help protect you from the flu virus.

If you have not gotten the COVID-19 shot yet, you should get that, too. This year, you can get both the flu shot and a COVID-19 shot at the same time.

Many Detroit-based pastors encourage community members to get the flu shot:

Here are some common reasons why people don’t get the flu shot. Don’t let these reasons stop you from getting your shot this year.

I never get the flu.

  • About 1 in 4 people who carry the flu virus have no symptoms. Even without symptoms, you could still pass the flu virus to your loved ones. 
  • If you haven’t had the flu yet, you may have just been lucky. The flu virus is changing all the time, so you could get it at any time. 
  • People who have had the flu would likely tell you getting a shot is much better than getting sick.

Every time I get the flu shot, I get the flu.

  • Because of the way the shot is made, you cannot get the flu from it. The virus in a flu shot is killed (inactivated), which means it cannot cause illness.
  • Some people have mild flu-like symptoms when they get the shot. This is caused by your body’s immune system response to the shot, which is what protects you from getting the flu.
  • The flu shot does not prevent 100% of flu illness, so it’s possible you may still get the flu. But, if you have had the flu shot, your symptoms will likely be milder than without it.
  • It takes about 2 weeks for the flu shot to fully protect you. If you are exposed to the virus during this time, or just before you get the shot, you may still get the flu.

I take care of myself and prefer using only natural products.

No one in my family gets the shot and it’s easier not to get it than to fight with them.

  • It can be hard when family members don’t agree, but it should not stop you from getting the shot. Getting it lowers the chance you will pass the virus on to your family, helping to protect them. You can be a good role model by getting the flu shot each year.

I got the flu shot last year.

  • The flu viruses that cause disease may change from year to year. Each year, flu shots are made to protect against the ones that are likely to be most common.
  • The effect of the flu shot wears off over time. Getting a flu shot each year helps protect you, even if the most common viruses don’t change from one season to the next.
  • Adults and children (6 months and older) need to get a dose of flu shot each year. Children 6 months to 8 years old who have never had a flu shot or only had one dose in past years will need two doses.

It’s past Thanksgiving – too late to get the flu shot?

  • The shot can still help protect you as long as flu viruses are spreading. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that healthcare providers should offer the shot as soon as it is ready in the Fall. The shot can still help protect you if you get it in December or even later. The flu often peaks in January or February, but it can occur as late as May, so it’s best to get the shot even if it seems “late.”

To find out more about how you can protect yourself from the flu, visit Henry Ford Health System’s Protect Yourself from the Flu page and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Influenza (Flu) page.

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