Do I Really Need a Flu Shot?
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There are many conspiracy theories surrounding the flu shot – it doesn't work, or it's a Big Pharma scam to bilk billions from the unsuspecting public. The only problem with the latter is, "vaccines make marginal profits for manufacturers," says Dr. William Schaffner, chair of Vanderbilt University's Department of Preventive Medicine and president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. And while it's true that the flu shot doesn't grant you 100 percent immunity (although it comes close), it will result in much milder symptoms if you do get sick. The bottom line: Everyone should get the shot, and even if it's as late as December, it's not too late – the flu usually peaks in February. If you're under 50 and needle-shy, consider FluMist, a nasal-spray form of the vaccine that's just as effective (and has always been free of mercury). Visit Flucliniclocator.org, sponsored by the American Lung Association, to find nearby clinics offering the shot.