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#AskAPharmacist: Why get the flu shot?

Hi, my name is Kelly Grindrod and I’m a practicing
pharmacist with a focus on community medicine. I’m also an assistant professor with the University
of Waterloo School of Pharmacy. Today I’ll be answering some of your questions. So why would you get the flu shot. The number
one reason is is to protect yourself. The flu sucks.You feel terrible. You get really,
really sick with the flu. Something to clarify is that we’re talking about influenza which
is a respiratory or a ‘chest’ infection – it’s a lung infection. We’re not talking about
the stomach flu. The flu vaccine protects you against a respiratory tract infection
that causes a bad cough, a high fever, body aches and quite a bit of tiredness. You feel
really tired when you have influenza. This is not the same thing as a what people call
the ‘stomach flu’ when you have vomiting or diarrhea. Those are other viruses, gastro-entero
viruses. We’re talking about the influenza virus. Now something to pay attention to is that
when people get the flu they often have to take time off work because you feel so bad
with the fever and the tiredness, people often have to take up to a week off of work. So
by getting the flu vaccine you’re actually trying to avoid needing to take time off work.
This is also the time of year when we take some hot or sunny vacations when we’re going
off to Mexico and other places, and people have to cancel trips when they get influenza.
So you’re really trying to protect yourself. Now the vaccine isn’t perfect. It’s about
50-90% effective. So it reduces your likelihood of getting influenza.You may still get it
if there’s a strain that’s circulating that’s not covered by the vaccine, but for the most
part it’s going to reduce your chances of getting influenza by quite a bit.

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