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The flu isn’t something to be treated lightly. You may consider yourself too tough, too healthy, or too busy to get the flu shot, but science isn’t exactly on your side on this one. In fact, there are numerous benefits to getting the flu shot, and very few potential downsides.

How the flu shot helps you

A bad bout of flu can be a big problem on its own, and it can also lead to even more serious complications, such as pneumonia. Every year, around 200,000 Americans are hospitalized because of the flu. The flu is also a huge contributor to missing work in the U.S. So if you’d rather save your sick days—and your health—make sure you get your shot as early as possible.

Getting a flu shot is quick and easy. There’s even options available now that let you get a nasal spray vaccination instead of the normal shot, if you’re nervous around needles. Every year, a new vaccination is tailor-made to prevent that year’s specific strain, so it’s important to stay up to date each winter.

It’s important to note is that the flu shot can’t actually give you the flu. You might (and this is very unlikely) experience minor side effects like a sore throat, but the vaccine itself is a dead form of the virus, and can’t infect you.

How the flu shot helps others

Even if you are totally confident in your own immune system, you should still consider getting the shot. The fact is, you can carry the flu virus without even knowing you have it. When you are carrying, you put others at risk, such as the elderly or young children, who may not be able to fight off the virus as well as you can. Getting the shot protects those around you and contributes to “herd immunity.”

Additional considerations

A flu shot has additional benefits beyond even protecting against the flu. A 2013 study revealed that adults who received the flu shot were 36% less likely to have a heart attack. This because the inflammation caused by influenza can make it easier for plaque to build up in your heart. It’s just one more reason to seriously consider getting a flu shot this winter.

We provide flu shots at our clinic, and they are covered by almost every insurance company and plan. Come in today and help yourself stay healthier.