3 Reasons You Should Get the Flu Shot

Yes, it's that time of year again — cold and flu season.

There’s no way to prevent a cold. Sure, you can try strengthening your immune system through regular exercise, sleep and eating healthy, but there are no guarantees.

But there is a way to prevent the potentially deadly influenza virus. Get a flu shot.

Here are three reasons why you should get one:

You hate getting sick. No one likes to be sick, and the flu not only sickens hundreds of thousands of people each year, it also hospitalizes 200,000 people, and 36,000 people die from flu-related complications.

“Even if you get a mild case, you’re still going to have a high fever and miss work, possibly infect others. It’s not an expensive way to avoid a lot of misery,” Dr. Anthony Fiore, a medical epidemiologist with the Influenza Division of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told FOXNews.com.

You don’t want to infect others. Sure you’re healthy, but if you regularly come into contact with the elderly or small children, giving them a case of the flu can be deadly.

It’s a serious disease,” said Dr. Tyra Bryant-Stephens, founder and director of the Community Asthma Prevention Program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, during a recent CDC-sponsored event on the flu. “Flu-related complications cause death — 100 small children die each year. That may sound like a small number, but the death of even one child is too many.”

Bryant-Stephens said the elderly are especially susceptible to deadly influenza complications such as pneumonia, dehydration and the worsening of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and kidney disease.

Even if it doesn’t completely protect you against the flu, the vaccine will reduce, even cut in half, the symptoms of influenza. While last year’s flu vaccine fell short of CDC’s goal of being between 70 and 90 percent effective against all strains of the flu virus (last year’s vaccine was 54 percent effective), the experts who develop the vaccine each year have a pretty good track record — 16 of the last 19 flu seasons hit the 70-90 percent mark.

“We didn’t hit (last year’s) right on the spot, but getting it still wasn’t a waste of time,” Fiore said. “It still reduces the severity of symptoms and it’s still undoubtedly the best way to prevent flu-related illness and death.”

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