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Internal Medicine Doctors of
Mill Basin & Bergen Beach, Brooklyn

6301 Mill Lane (Corner of East 63rd) in Mill Basin (11234)

718-942-4600

Dr. Bella Zimilevich

Dr. Bella Zimilevich, MD
Primary Care Doctor

Dr. Bella Zimilevich

Dr. Anatoly Pisman, M.D
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Dr. Bella Zimilevich

Dr. Alexander Shapsis, M.D
Gastroenterologist

I have read so many things for and against the flu shot. Do I really need one?

Posted by on October 10th, 2013

Answer: Every year, my patients ask me this question, so thank you for bringing this important topic to the forefront!
Flu season will be upon us soon. Typically, the influenza vaccine is made available to doctors by mid to late October. This allows us to immunize a large proportion of the population before flu season hits hard, which usually coincides with the holiday season when people gather together in large crowds indoors- this practice helps to spread the virus very efficiently! It takes a few weeks for the flu shot to take full effect, so immunizing in the fall makes sense.

Many people question the need for a flu shot. In order to understand why I advocate getting a flu shot, it’s important to explain the concept of herd immunity. This term refers to the fact that when a large proportion of individuals are vaccinated against a certain disease, those who cannot be immunized (such as small children or people with compromised immune systems) will still enjoy a measure of protection. In other words, the more people get vaccinated, the greater the chance that susceptible individuals who may die from the disease in question will be protected. The concept of herd immunity explains why we are seeing a resurgence of diseases such as diphtheria and measles. Many parents are choosing not to immunize their children, and as fewer people are immunized, these diseases are becoming more commonplace again.

Many healthy adults are resistant to the idea of immunization against the flu, claiming that they never get the flu and, at any rate, they are healthy and should have no problems recovering if they do get it. Many people forget that influenza can result in significant illness, even in people who are healthy with no chronic health issues. Even if you are healthy, getting the flu can mean that you are too weak and sick to get out of bed for several days, which means time off work and lost pay for some. Can you afford a week away from work or school?

If you have contact with children or older adults, getting the flu shot may protect them. The flu claims many lives every year (which many people seem to forget), and getting the flu shot may be the best way to protect those you care about from getting ill.

If you have a chronic health condition, you should definitely get a flu shot. Anyone with heart and/or lung disease, obesity, diabetes or other chronic conditions should get a yearly flu shot, as getting the flu could result in serious complications. If you are an older adult, you are at higher risk of complications such as pneumonia.

To answer your question, I believe that everyone should get a flu shot to protect not only themselves, but others who are high risk of dying from the flu, such as infants, patients fighting cancer or other serious illnesses affecting their ability to fight off infection and the very old.

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6301 Mill Lane, Brooklyn, NY 11234.

(718) 942-4600

 

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