How many times have you heard you should get a flu shot? There’s good reason for the hype: Over the past few years, the influenza vaccine has prevented millions of flu cases and tens of thousands of related hospitalizations, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although an increasing number of people are getting vaccinated every year, more than half of American men still aren’t doing it, for a variety of reasons, most of which aren’t backed by science. “Men have this macho sense that if they do get the flu, they can tough it out,” says Dr. William Schaffner, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University. “But influenza is a potentially dangerous virus that can send a totally healthy young man to the emergency room within 48 hours. I’ve seen my fair share of 26-year-olds with no underlying illness who suddenly can’t breathe, have a high fever, and must be put in the intensive care unit.” Even if it doesn’t get that grave, the flu can knock you out of commission for days or even weeks.
The vaccine isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t guarantee 100 percent that you won’t get influenza, but experts agree that it’s far and away your best bet for bucking the flu. If you’re still not convinced, here are 10 more reasons why you should get vaccinated.