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Health: Pros and cons of the flu vaccine

Winter creeps up quickly after Halloween and so do the reminders of heading to the doctor’s office or the Health Center to get a flu shot.

For as long as I can remember, I have always received a flu shot and most of the time, I dodge the flu bullet for the year. But receiving a vaccine isn’t always guaranteed to rid your body of the ick. So what are the pros and cons?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone over six months of age is highly encouraged to receive a flu shot. The biggest reason to do so is the current vaccine has three times the protection, that includes strains of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus to help our bodies combat this season’s virus.

If you hate shots as much as I do, there are now other ways to get vaccine. You can ask for a nasal spray that is just as effective.

But think twice if you are allergic to eggs. The 2012 flu vaccine is made inside chicken eggs according to the CDC, and people who are allergic are asked to take precautions. It also means if you’re not allergic you still might get sick after the shot, as the vaccination takes about two weeks to go into full effect.

This comes as somewhat alarming as the CDC recently reported that 48 states are experiencing widespread activity of the flu. Instances of the flu have been increasing over the past few weeks in Oregon and flu rates have been rated “moderate” by the CDC, according to The Oregonian.

Depending on who you are and what you believe works for you, check in with your doctor for more information about this year’s flu vaccine and where you can receive it. Certain areas in the United States have reported shortages of vaccines, but places like Albertson’s, Safeway and the Health Center on campus have flu vaccines for $15 per person.

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