For the last few years, when we talk about getting vaccinated, the talk has centered around the controversial Covid-19 vaccination.

Before there was a thing called Covid-19, Americans would roll up their sleeves and receive a flu shot annually.  That has been especially true in the Garden State.  According to, New Jersey ranks number 8 in the country for the number of residents who have received the flu shot.

The flu, which is short for influenza, affects the respiratory system.  It has many of the same symptoms as a cold.

  • Aches and Pains
  • Runny Nose
  • Sore Throat
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Sweaty

The big difference between a common cold and the flu, is flu includes fever and can be much more serious.  The flu is spread through the air and will usually last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.  While it makes us feel miserable, for many, it will cure itself.

People who are elderly or have compromised immune systems are urged to get the annual vaccination.  If you're over the age of 65, or have chronic illnesses like diabetes, liver or kidney disease you should probably get vaccinated.  Also, those pregnant or obese should consider it as well.  Of course, always check with your doctor if you any concerns about your particular situation.

This year's flu season is already in full swing.  The CDC says there have been over 13 million reported cases of the flu across the US.  Despite that large number, only approximately 120,000 people have been hospitalized.  New Jersey is among the states with a very high number of reported cases.

Why do we need a flu shot each year?  Influenza is a virus.  Viruses are constantly evolving.

Can we get the flu from the shot?  No.  This is a common misconception, that is simply not possible.  The vaccine doesn't contain the virus.

Why do some people have symptoms after getting the shot?  While some people have reactions, the shot doesn't cause the flu.  You may already have contracted it before getting the shot, you may have a strain that isn't covered by the particular vaccination you received.

Finally, and we can't stress this enough, talk to your doctor.  Everybody is different, and their particular needs are different.

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