Have You Received Your Flu Shot This Year?
I think the reason for healthy adults to get the flu shot is to help prevent an epidemic. In the early 1900's millions died as a result of a flu epidemic. In fact, more US soldiers were lost to influenza during WW1 than to enemy gunfire.
Most people get a virus in the winter and think they have the flu. They do not. Influenza is a very nasty illness that will make even the healthiest person pretty miserable for quite a while.
Even if you are not at great risk of dying from it, before you come down with the symptoms, you are spreading the virus. When you go to the mall, or to your daughter's school, work, etc., you are exposing others. Many of them are at risk of dying from it. So, I think one reason for healthy people to get the shot is, if you get the shot, it is possible you won't get the virus and then not be able to spread it.
Obviously, that isn't an option this year. I won't get the nasal mist. To me, that also puts others at risk. Am I going to get the mist and go home for 3 days? Not likely. I will still go to work, the mall, etc. So, since I am not at great risk of dying from influenza (which incidently doesn't mean I won't die from it), I think it is better to chance getting influenza rather than getting the mist and spreading it around. Not to mention, if long term studies haven't been done, I am not interested in being a guinea pig.
I do not believe it is accurate to say is strengthens your immune system. What happens is that you get a small amount of the virus in your system and you rimmune system fights it off. Part of this process is building antibodies to that virus. Once you have built antibodies to a particular virus, you are immune from it. That is why you only get the mumps once for example. You get it once, your body builds antibodies to fight it, you can't get it again. This is true in general. If you have a very mild case of a particular virus, your immunity will not last a lifetime. However, I do not believe getting a flu shot or mist it does anything to help
you fight off another virus
to which you haven't already been exposed. Edited: tenaheff on 15th Oct, 2004 - 11:44am