6 Positive Flu Shot Side Effects (Other Than Not Getting Sick)
Getting sick is never fun, but having an illness affect your work is worse. Calling in can put you behind, but having to go into the office can be absolute torture when you’re coughing and fighting a fever.
One way to help prevent getting sick this flu season is the flu shot. It’s recommended for everyone over 6 months, but especially for young children, adults over the age of 65, those with underlying health conditions, and pregnant women.
Despite these recommendations, a coordinated survey conducted by Research America, the American Society for Microbiology, and Zogby Analytics found that only 46% of Americans received the flu shot during the 2017-2018 flu season.
If you were in the majority of Americans who skipped the shot last year, here are six positive flu shot side effects you should be aware of, especially as an employee.
1| You’ll Enjoy Months of Protection
Flu season is already in full swing. The CDC recommends that everyone receive their vaccination by the end of October. So, if you’re hashing out your holiday plans without thinking about your vaccine, the flu bug could already be brewing inside of you.
And just because the season has already started doesn’t mean it’s close to ending. Flu season begins in October and stretches through as late as May in severe years. Cases tend to peak between December and February. Flu shots can protect you for up to six months, so getting your vaccination sooner than later can make all the difference.
2| You’ll Be Protected by a Custom Vaccine
Last season was a scary year for the flu, with more than 80,000 deaths being blamed on the disease. This year’s vaccine was developed with last year’s epidemic in mind. There are different types of flu strains, all which are continuously evolving, and scientists develop vaccines every year to protect against those most likely to strike.
This year’s vaccine includes protection against four strains, including two influenza A strains and two influenza B strains. While there is no way to guarantee the predicted flu strains will be the ones to strike, being vaccinated against as many as possible can help shorten the length and lessen the severity of symptoms.
3| You’ll Be Compliant with Possible Employer Requirements
Just as schools can legally require students to be vaccinated before enrolling, your employer does have the legal right to enforce a flu shot policy. While there are exceptions, your job could be at risk should you decline the vaccination.
A common myth surrounding the flu shot is that it can make you sick. This is one of the top reason’s employees don’t seek out the vaccine on their own. But doctors continue to work on informing the public that any flu shot side effects like achiness or low fevers are actually signs the vaccine is working as your body develops antibodies to protect against or fight an attempted infection.
4| Your Shot Could Come Without Financial Risks
Reports during the dangerous 2017-2018 flu season showed just how costly the flu can be to businesses. When the CDC’s prediction of 18 million employed adults missing four workdays due to the flu was publicized halfway through the season, calculations showed businesses could lose over $15 billion in productivity and sick pay costs.
It’s in your employer’s best interest to provide flu vaccinations at no cost to you and your coworkers. If you’re unsure whether your work holds an in-house clinic or simply reimburses for out of pocket expenses, ask before getting the vaccine on your own.
5| You’ll Be Doing Your Part to Protect Others
At the center of every vaccination debate is the term “herd immunity” – by getting your shot, you’re doing your part to protect those who either can’t or choose not to receive the vaccine. But for herd immunity to work, a majority of the population needs to be vaccinated.
Think of your fellow coworkers. There could be one who falls into the minority of Americans who exclusively rely on herd immunity. This could include people with compromised immune systems, like those dealing with an autoimmune disease or anyone currently or recently undergoing chemotherapy. Helping to protect your coworkers is the socially responsible action to take.
6| You’ll Save Your Sick Days
We’ve already said it’s in your employer’s best interest to avoid you using your sick days, but it is for you too. Of course, if you’re truly sick, it’s always recommended that you call in to minimize the spread of infection.
But saving sick days could help you extend your annual vacation (if you’re allowed to combine them) or enjoy a nice bonus at the end of the year if your work pays for unused sick days regardless of whether they’re used or not. Also, the more sick days you have at your disposal, the less stress you’ll be under if you start to feel under the weather.
At the end of the day, choosing to receive your flu vaccination is up to you. But now that you know these positive flu shot side effects for employees, you may be rolling up your sleeve and getting in the vaccine line sooner than later.