Flu shots! What’s new with this year’s flu vaccine?
Not looking to stir up any controversy here, just give you the stats on flu shots this flu season and a little blurb on the difference between a cold and the flu.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released the current efficacy of the flu shot this year, and it’s better than it has been in past years, at an average of 47% protection. Now, here’s the thing- the way they judge this is by picking 5 locations across the country where they evaluate people who go to the doctor complaining of flu-like symptoms, then test those people for flu. They look at who actually have true influenza (the specific flu virus), who doesn’t have the flu but likely some other virus (like rhinovirus), and which of these people received the flu vaccine or not. It’s the best gauge we have, and obviously, there’s some room for error in looking at it that way.
People argue “well that’s not a very good rate, 47%?!” Yup, 47% is definitely not a passing grade. BUT, as are most things in medicine, and in life, nothing is 100%. I would rather have a 47% chance of NOT getting the flu, than a 0% chance of being protected.
And I’ll just say it, you CAN NOT get the flu from the flu shot – it’s just not possible. You may feel a little sick after getting a flu shot, or have been exposed to a virus when going to get your flu shot at your doctor’s office or the pharmacy (prime breeding grounds for infection), but the vaccine is a dead virus that literally couldn’t infect a fly.
So when is it a cold, and when could it be the flu? If you have body aches, high temperatures, severe cough, vomiting, and the like, it could be the flu and you should consider getting checked out. If it’s a runny nose and you’re just feeling a little under the weather, more likely a cold virus so drink plenty of fluids and make sure you’re getting enough rest. But if you have concerns, you should always check back with your doctor.