Flu season has descended upon us. Sick households are quickly becoming the normal. Flu season, which lasts from October until May, brings many unwanted side effects, and can make an individual sick for several days or more than a week.

The flu shot is a way to protect your family members from this dreaded illness. However, the flu vaccine is a controversial topic and one that many individuals feel strongly against. But, there are several benefits to vaccinating your family against the flu.

1. The vaccine protects against multiple viruses

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a traditional flu vaccine can protect against three different flu viruses: two influenza A viruses and an influenza B virus. For the 2013-2014 flu season, flu vaccines are available to protect against four flu viruses, as well. This shot protects against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. Neither vaccine is recommended more than the other.

2. The shot won't make you sick

Many people believe that getting the flu shot will make you sick shortly after receiving it. This information is false. The viruses in flu vaccines are inactive or not infectious. However, they do require approximately two weeks to become effective so if you have been exposed to the flu vaccine shortly before or after the shot, you may still experience flu-like symptoms.

Also, you may experience some symptoms after receiving the shot. For example, you may experience redness or swelling where the shot was administered. You may be sore and experience aches in the arm in which it was given. Additionally, you may even notice body aches or a low grade fever. But these should not last more than a day or two.

3. It benefits all ages

The flu shot can benefit all family members over the age of six months. The flu shot is particularly important for kids between 6 months old and 4 years old; also anyone older than 65 years. Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding should also make receiving a flu shot a priority. Recent studies show that these vaccines are safe for pregnant women.

4. Vaccine options are available

If the idea of a needle makes you hesitant to receive a flu vaccine, nasal spray options are available. The nasal spray can only be given to individuals two years and older. It also contains much stronger side effects than the traditional shot. Adults and children may experience more flu-like symptoms such as runny nose, headaches, body aches and even vomiting. Pregnant women should not receive the nasal spray vaccine.

5. Your chances of hospitalization decrease

Young children's bodies have a difficult time battling the sickness. They may require assistance from healthcare providers. Approximately 20,000 children are hospitalized each year due to the flu. This can be emotionally draining on family members and it can quickly turn into a very costly illness.

The flu is dangerous and can attack every member of your family. But, you can fight this illness and increase the chances of your family maintaining good health with a simple flu vaccine.

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