A trip to the doctor’s office to get a shot; this might be your child’s worst nightmare. However, shots serve an important purpose in preventing us from getting sick. Let’s find out more.

We’ve talked about the flu and what you can do if you already have it, but let’s now talk about what you can do to prevent it – specifically, the flu shot.

What is the flu shot?

The flu shot is a preventative vaccine – this means that getting a flu shot is supposed to prevent you from getting the flu. The flu shot protects against several strains of the virus that are predetermined by scientists and researchers to be common during the year’s flu season.

Why isn’t the flu shot 100% effective?

The flu shot is not 100% effective because it is difficult to determine the exact strains of the influenza virus that will infect each individual and individuals may become infected with strains that were not covered in the vaccine. Also, the flu virus mutates a lot; this means that a particular influenza virus in your body can look different to the immune system after the virus undergoes mutations.

Should I get a flu shot?

Despite not being 100% effective, it is highly recommended by the Center of Control and Disease that everyone age 6 months and older should get a flu shot. This is because even though the flu shot does not protect against all strains of the influenza virus, some protection is better than no protection. If you are an individual that has a weakened immune system or are very young or very old, you should get a flu shot yearly because you are considered a high-risk individual for getting the flu. Because the flu is most commonly spread person-to-person, being vaccinated against the flu can help thwart the spread of the flu amongst individuals.

The ideal time to get vaccinated for the flu is in October before the flu season starts.

When is flu season?

Flu season is normally in the winter, particularly in months of December, January and February. However, the flu can season can start as early as October and last as late as May.

Why do I need a flu shot each year?

The flu shot protects against different strains of the virus each year. Even if you have had a flu shot in the past, you still need to get it yearly because the strains may not be the same. You could get a new strain of flu that was different from the strain of flu you dealt with in the past.

Hopefully, that next visit to the doctor for the flu shot will not be as scary after knowing the benefits of getting the flu shot!