As the flu season nears, immunizations are key

Rachel Sina, Contributer

The flu season is quickly approaching, and many individuals are finding protection from new strains of influenza on a yearly basis with a flu shot.

With only a poke of a needle and minimal soreness, individuals are defended from this yearly biological aggravation. Vaccines are a weakened version of the bacteria or virus behind an illness. When a vaccine is given, one’s immune system detects this germ and reacts just as it would when reacting to an authentic infection. Soon, the body begins making antibodies against the vaccine germs, and these antibodies remain in the body and are ready to react if an actual infection strikes.

Despite its scientifically proven success and clear advantages, some claim vaccinations, like the flu vaccine, are less than valuable because of their chemical composition and permanent nature. They are wrong; most notably during the flu season, immunizations are effective and beneficial for individuals and communities.

It’s important to get a vaccine each year. Graphic by Morgan Stuedemann

Immunizations are important for all to embrace because of their benefits to communities as a whole. Vaccines are specifically relevant currently due to their controversial quality and spotlight status in the news. On a more acute scale, the question of whether or not to vaccinate is particularly relevant to adolescents because at this age, we are beginning to make health decisions for ourselves, and adolescents tend to be routinely present in areas in which communicable illness spreads rapidly due to the close proximity of individuals (such as school, workplaces, concerts, etc).

Those uneducated about vaccinations believe the minute amounts of powerful chemicals in immunizations are harmful to the body, but in reality the small doses of chemicals found in shots act as antibacterials and stabilizers.  What proves that the vaccinations are not harmful is the fact  that the chemical dosage included in vaccines is less than the dosage in FDA approved foods that people eat every day. Also, many people against vaccines argue that the permanent nature of shots is unacceptable, but their long lasting quality is quite literally the purpose of shots: to protect vaccinated individuals from illness for as long as needed.

It is imperative to get vaccinations to protect both yourself from the flu as well as the people around you who could be more vulnerable to serious illnesses. Especially in close proximity environments, the amount of flu cases can be reduced exponentially with the shot. The flu vaccination also reduces the duration and intensity of illness if you do get sick. Lastly, the vaccination can reduce the risk of more serious flu outcomes, like hospitalizations and deaths. Because those who choose to vaccinate research or are informed by their physician about the benefits of each vaccine, vaccinations increase health consciousness in individuals and communities as a whole.

With the many benefits of simply getting a  flu shot, it is easy to understand the necessity of more powerful vaccines such as those against life threatening illness. Medical standards mandate certain of these at birth or at the enrollment in schools. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 732,000 American children were saved from death and 322 million cases of extreme childhood illnesses were prevented between 1994 and 2014 due to vaccination.

Despite the small poke of a needle, immunizations such as the flu vaccine make society healthier as a whole, be sure to get yours in the upcoming months.