A healthy lifestyle includes many different components. Diet and exercise are arguably the two most significant elements of a healthy lifestyle, but being healthy and avoiding illness involves more than just eating right and getting off the couch.
Preventive care can be critical to long-term health. A healthy diet and routine exercise can help lower risk for various ailments, including heart disease and diabetes. But what about preventing more routine conditions, including the flu? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor visits every year. Despite the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, some people still don’t get one each year. But a look at some of the many benefits of being vaccinated against the flu might compel such men and women to change their minds and get their flu shots this year.
• The flu shot keeps you from getting the flu. While it’s common sense to note that the flu keeps people from getting the flu, just how effective the flu vaccination can be might open the eyes of even the most ardent flu shot proponents. According to the CDC, in seasons when the flu vaccine viruses matched circulating strains, the vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor by as much as 60 percent.
• The flu shot can save you money and vacation time. The CDC estimated that 48.8 million people got sick with the flu during the 2017-18 flu season. In addition, the CDC estimates that the flu caused workers to miss approximately 17 million workdays and led to more than 950,000 hospitalizations. The cost of a hospital stay is often considerable, and workers who value their vacation and personal time will almost certainly lament having to use some of that time at home nursing the flu. By getting the flu shot, anyone can greatly reduce their risk of spending their time and hard-earned money recovering from the flu.
• The flu shot can help prevent serious medical events. A 2013 meta-analysis of various studies that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the influenza vaccine was associated with a lower risk of major adverse cardiovascular events among people with heart disease. In addition, the CDC notes that previous studies have found that the flu vaccination has been associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease.
• The flu shot can protect children. Humans’ immune systems mature as they grow, and the flu vaccine can be an invaluable ally to children as their immune systems are still evolving.
The flu is a formidable foe. But an annual flu shot can bolster everyone’s chances of beating or even avoiding the flu.