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Should You Get the Shot? Facts to Know About the Flu Vaccine

by Stephanie Koathes Feb 25, 2019

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Image of medicine and syringe. Should you get the flu shot?

With Jamaica on high alert for a possible outbreak of the influenza virus, you might be wondering about the flu vaccine.

While most people recover from the flu without medical intervention, it should not be taken lightly. The flu is potentially severe, and for vulnerable people, it can cause complications and even death. Even seemingly healthy adults can end of in the hospital due to complications related to the virus.

One of the best ways to protect against the flu is by getting the flu vaccine.

The flu vaccine is available in Jamaica. It is free at public clinics for high-risk groups such as healthcare workers, children, the elderly, pregnant women, non-health frontline workers, and people in state-run institutions.
Private health practices also have the vaccine available.

If you’re thinking about getting the flu vaccine, here are a few things you should know.

Patient getting the flu vaccine at a clinic.

• The flu vaccine works by causing your body to develop antibodies and can help protect against multiple strains of the virus. Antibodies develop about two weeks after getting the shot and protect against infection with the viruses contained in the vaccine.

• The American Center for Disease Control recommends the seasonal flu vaccine for adults and children over six months. It is highly recommended for people over 50, those with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions, and those in close contact with high-risk individuals.

• You should not get the flu shot if you’re currently having a fever or dealing with a moderate to severe illness.

• Flu vaccines aren’t perfect and sometimes don’t provide 100% protection. If you still get the flu after being vaccinated, your illness won’t be as severe as if you hadn’t gotten the shot.

• You will not get the flu from the flu vaccine, though you might feel a little feverish and achy a few days after getting vaccinated.

• Flu vaccines are considered to be quite safe. However, some people can have an allergic reaction. If you experience rapid heartbeat, weakness or dizziness, a rash or hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling around your nose and mouth, contact your doctor. In very rare cases, the vaccine has triggered Guillain-Barre syndrome. If you’ve already had this condition, talk to your doctor before getting vaccinated.

Getting a flu shot is a good way to protect yourself and those around you from contracting the virus. Check out Find Yello’s doctor listings to find a practitioner who offers the flu vaccine.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control, Very Well Health, Healthline, Jamaica Gleaner