Why Should You Get a Flu Shot?

October 29th, 2019

Is it going to be a rough flu season or a mild one? In many ways, that’s up to you.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the best way to minimize the spread of the flu is for as many people as possible to get a vaccination against the disease every year. When people vaccinated against the flu are exposed to the virus, it’s far less likely that they’ll contract it or spread it, so influenza can be stopped in its tracks.

A JPS Health Network team member gets a flu shot.

A JPS Health Network team member gets a flu shot.

Widespread vaccinations are believed to be responsible for preventing 5.3 million illnesses, 2.6 million medical visits and 85,000 influenza-related hospitalizations in a single season, according to CDC estimates. Simply put: People who don’t get sick because they got the vaccination don’t make others sick, according to Dr. Nolan Mischel, a Family Medicine physician at JPS.

“When someone has the flu, they shed particles of the disease all of the time they’re infected, often even after they’ve started to feel better,” Mischel said. “When someone is exposed to the virus after they’ve had the vaccination, it keeps the disease from multiplying and replicating in their body and it dies off. In that way it keeps other people from being exposed to the virus.”

People with health conditions like heart disease and asthma or those over the age of 65 can be more vulnerable than others to the flu, according to the CDC. When they can make such a difference in their health and the health of their community, why would someone opt not to get a flu vaccination?

“The reasons people cite for not getting a flu shot are based on misconceptions and misunderstandings,” Mischel said. “People falsely believe the vaccination can cause them to catch the disease or they underestimate the risks of catching influenza.

“People for some reason just believe they’re not one of the ones who are going to get sick,” Mischel said. “But, unfortunately, we sometimes see people who are pretty healthy end up with fluid in their lungs and on a ventilator in the ICU. A flu shot is a cheap insurance policy against that.”

Mischel said flu shots are designed to protect people from the most dangerous strains of the virus. While they might not be 100 percent effective against all strains of the flu, they often help to lessen the impact if you do end up catching the disease. That could be the difference between a few days of feeling lousy or ending up in the hospital.

What’s in a flu shot and how does it work?

Some people are afraid that getting a shot can infect them with the flu and make them sick because they don’t understand how it works, Mischel said. While your body’s reaction to a flu vaccination may include some mild symptoms like a low-grade fever and aches, it is impossible for the shot to actually infect you with influenza. The vaccination contains dead flu virus which convinces the body to build up its defenses from the disease without exposing it to danger. Because the virus is dead, there is no chance it can replicate and infect the vaccination recipient.

“Flu season and cold season happen at the same time, so sometimes people catch a cold around the time they get a flu shot and they falsely associate their symptoms with getting the vaccination,” Mischel said. “The flu shot cannot cause the flu. People need to understand that and get vaccinated because it can protect not only them, but the people around them that they care about.”

It's time to get a flu shot! The flu vaccine is recommended every year for adults and children 6 months and older to reduce the risk of developing flu-related illness.

Flu shots are available at all JPS Medical Homes throughout Tarrant County. For those without insurance or who wish to pay out-of-pocket, the cost is $25.

You can get a flu shot during a medical appointment at JPS, at appointments with a clinical pharmacist, or you can call 817-702-1100 to make a flu shot appointment at your medical home with a nurse. 

You can also receive your flu vaccine during special walk-in clinics.

 

Walk-In Flu Shot Clinics: Each Friday starting October 18 through November 15 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at these medical homes:

                                                 

JPS Main Campus

Family Health Center

1500 S. Main St., 4th Floor

Fort Worth, TX 76104

 

Fort Worth Area

Viola Pitts/Como Health Center

4701 Bryant Irvin Road

Fort Worth, TX 76107

 

Arlington Area

Medical Home Southeast Tarrant

2050 W. Arkansas Lane

Arlington, TX 76013

 

Northeast Tarrant County

Medical Home Northeast Tarrant

3200 W. Euless Boulevard

Euless, TX 76040


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