Is getting the flu shot worthwhile, or just a gamble?

Expert Answers
thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Getting a flu shot is not really a gamble, as there are potential positive benefits both to yourself and to society and few to no negatives. Because students and teachers come into contact with hundreds of different people during the day, they are exposed to many forms of flu, and thus are a population likely to benefit from flu shots.

On the positive side, a flu shot can reduce your chances of getting the flu. By educating your immune system, the flu shot will prevent your catching many of the most common strains of flu, and will reduce the severity of any flu you do catch. The flu shot, according the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reduces the risk of flu-related hospitalizations by 70 percent. Also, every person who gets a flu shot helps reduce the prevalence of flu in the population, thus preventing localized outbreaks.

Flu shots are normally available for free or a nominal fee at student health centers and local pharmacies and doctors' offices. The only down side to the shot for most people is minor local tenderness and occasionally mild, flu-like symptoms for one or two days. If you are allergic to eggs or have had bad reactions to previous flu shots, consult your health care provider before getting a flu shot. In general, adverse reactions are quite rare.

coleman-rn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question continues to raise many debates between healthcare professionals every year. Should I get the Influenza vaccine (flu shot) or not? Is it really necessary for my patients to receive the flu shot? 

Even though there are some side effects related to the flu shot, the benefits outweigh the side effects. This is especially true for young children and elderly patients. There are contraindications to receiving this shot if certain illnesses or diseases are present. The nurse administering the shot will assess you to ensure you are appropriate to receive the injection. Each person receiving the injection will receive proper education regarding the Influenza vaccine. 

The CDC recommends that anyone 6 months of age or older should receive the flu shot every year. Most flu related deaths occur in the elderly population. 

Receiving the vaccine will greatly reduce your chances of getting the flu. However, it is possible to still become sick even if you get vaccinated. There are many strains of influenza and the vaccination only protects you from some of them. 

By getting vaccinated, you reduce the risk of becoming infected and then spreading the virus to others.