Flu shot

Samantha Hudson, a pharmacist at Drugco Express, administers the flu shot to Tia Bedwell.

During my last doctor’s visit for an earache, I was going to go ahead and get my annual flu shot. Of course I forgot, but didn’t want to wait until my next checkup in a few months.

See, I have Type 2 diabetes and it is suggested anyone with diabetes should get the flu shot every year. I am at a high risk of developing serious flu complications because of the diabetes.

I decided to go to my favorite pharmacy, Drugco Express, on Wednesday and dragged the boyfriend with me so he could get one as well. I love him and want him to stay healthy.

I’ve heard and read about people saying they don’t get the flu shot because, “I got the flu shot and it made me sick.”

It’s not true, folks. I did a little Google search and on gohealthuc.com, it was stated:

Have you ever gotten the flu shot and felt a little sick afterward? You’re not alone. Many people feel under the weather after receiving the vaccine, causing them to wonder, “Can the flu shot make you sick?”

The short answer is no, you can’t get the flu from the flu shot. However, you can get flu shot side effects that feel almost flu-like.

According to the website, the flu shot contains an inactive flu virus that consists of only half the virus — the part needed to cause an immune response. After getting the flu shot, most people have some flu shot side effects, including redness and soreness at the injection site. These normal symptoms usually last for only a day or two.

You may also experience other flu shot side effects, like a low-grade fever, body aches, headache, and an overall feeling of illness that many people mistake for the flu. These symptoms are the body’s normal immune response to the inactivated virus in the vaccine, according to the website.

If experienced at all, these effects — which are much less severe than actual influenza — usually last for only one or two days after vaccination. So, although you may feel sick, you don’t have the flu. To alleviate flu shot side effects, try to stay hydrated and take acetaminophen or ibuprofen, the website stated.

Seriously, my arm is a little sore. Other than that, I’m fine. I’ve never gotten the flu after getting the shot. I can’t tell you the last time I was sick and it felt like the flu. I get my prevention religiously every year. And even if I felt a little bad, the fact I probably will not get the flu because I am taking steps to prevent it outweighs any discomfort I may have for a couple of days.

And, with COVID-19, could you imagine having both viruses at the same time? I don’t think a lot of us could fight that off without consequences.

According to the website, the CDC estimates that each year, up to 20% of all Americans will contract the influenza virus, and more than 200,000 will be hospitalized due to flu-related complications.

Add the COVID patients and we could potentially have a big problem, right? Scientists are still working on a vaccine for COVID, but the chance to protect yourself from the flu is now.

Really, a few days of the effects of a flu shot is nothing compared to keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. And hey, it didn’t cost me anything with insurance. Most places, without insurance, only charge a small fee.

Do yourself a favor — get the flu shot. For the first time I looked at the needle coming toward my arm — ugh, I thought, that’s a little long. But still, it didn’t really hurt much. Just a little pinch.

Editor Tia Bedwell can be reached at tiabedwell@rrdailyherald.com or 252-410-7056.

Editor Tia Bedwell can be reached at tiabedwell@rrdailyherald.com or 252-410-7056.