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Health Team

Flu shots are for adults, too

Posted December 1, 2008

In a country where vaccinations have wiped out diseases from smallpox and polio to measles, many adult Americans don't get a shot that could save their lives: the flu shot.

Many adults refuse to get routine vaccinations; for example, only about half of adults are vaccinated against tetanus.

Participation rates can be worse for those vulnerable or at high risk of getting the flu: Only 15 percent of pregnant women receive the flu vaccine.

"The new big push this year is ... not only for young children, 6 months to 2 years of age, but for all children and adolescents" to get vaccinated, said Dr. David Weber, an infectious-disease expert at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"They serve as a vector for infecting older individuals, so by immunizing children, we're hoping to give herd immunity and reduce the risk for adults."

Doctors want to dispel what they call myths about the flu shot.

Myth No. 1: It can give you the flu. Experts say the shot simply doesn't do that.

Myth No. 2: the flu shot hurts. Doctors say they use a tiny, 25-gauge needle, and the shot is over in a second. A Band-Aid is optional.

Flu season runs until May, with cases typically peaking in February. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective.

The Wake and Durham county health departments are offering flu vaccinations. In Wake, call 919-250-4555; in Durham, call 919-560-7378.

8 Comments

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  • scientistjo Dec 4, 2008

    Hey JaredsMom, tell that to all the kids in Chapel Hill/Carborro who got Whooping Cough b/c of "religous reasons" for not getting vaccinated.

  • JaredsMom Dec 4, 2008

    No flu shot for me OR my family for the past two years and I don't ever intend on getting another one. I agree with purplerado - take care of your immune system and you won't have to worry about the flu and lots of other stuff too.

  • scientistjo Dec 3, 2008

    The flu isn't bacterial, it's viral.

  • scarletindurham Dec 3, 2008

    How come people say, "when I was younger, no one had alzheimers, no one had cancer, etc"... you know, when you were younger, they just called it something else. People with alzheimers were just crazy and demented and old, people who had cancer just got sick and dropped dead one day. Just because hardly anyone was diagnosed back in the day doesn't mean no one had it.

  • iamyeary Dec 3, 2008

    I'd like to add- Those who choose not to get a flu shot, (for whatever reasoning)-They can thank all of us who DO get the shot because then there are less folks out there spreading the flu virus around. Think about it!

  • iamyeary Dec 3, 2008

    I have been getting flu shots for 10 years now and I am much healthier than before. I don't get sore throats and colds like I use to and have not gotten the flu. It really works for me.

    I want to make a note here that when my children were young, and going to day care and school, my doctor would not give me a flu shot because she considered them for only "high risk" folks and the elderly. I got sick every year with the flu and would miss a week of work.
    Today this is the opposite viewpoint, and I am very happy that I can get the flu shot.

  • purplerado Dec 2, 2008

    I would NEVER get a flu shot. Why take the chance? Of injecting myself with some bacterial agent that will assault my immune system and may cause some type of problem down the road (which of course they can always say can't be definitively linked to the shot, but yet we know these things do happen), and aluminum and mercury that can cause brain damage and other health problems. (Why do you think Altzheimers is so prevalent now? I never heard of it growing up.) The flu shot is profits for the drug companies and the CDC and FDA are their buddies. Deaths attributed to the flu are greatly exaggerated - the deaths are due to people having compromised immune systems and not taking responsibility (or not being able) to take proper care of their bodies. If the answer was in a pill or a shot, why do we still have so many sick people? It doesn't make sense if you think about it. Take care of your immune system and you won't have to worry about the flu.

  • RAPTOR Dec 1, 2008

    I am 55 years old and got my shot today.Why take the chance.