Managing Wellness

Should Your Employees Get a Flu Shot?

  • Flu shots work by creating antibodies that protect against infection caused by the influenza virus
  • Getting a flu shot is the most effective way to protect against the flu
  • Encouraging employees to get flu shots can result in a healthier work environment
Posted by February 2, 2018

The influenza vaccine, most commonly known as the “flu shot,” is given to help fight against infection caused by the influenza virus.

Some people swear by these vaccines, while others choose to steer clear of them. In order to decide if flu shots are something you should offer for free in the office (or simply encourage your employees to get), it’s helpful to know the facts about this controversial vaccine, as well as the pros and cons associated with it.

How Does the Vaccination Work?

It is a common misconception that you can get the flu from your flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines either contain a non-infectious virus or a particle created to appear as a flu virus to your immune system.

The purpose of this is to develop antibodies that fight against infection with the viruses in the vaccine. It can take up to two weeks for this process to take place following the vaccination, so it is best to receive the shot in the early fall season.

Pros

While there are concerns associated with getting a flu shot, the CDC recommends that anyone over 6 months of age who does not have a known allergy to the shot (or eggs) should get one. Over the last 50 years, hundreds of millions of people in America have been safely vaccinated.

While there is a possibility of still getting the flu after being vaccinated, extensive research suggests that flu shots are the most effective way to prevent from contracting and spreading the flu. Additional benefits of the shot include:

  • Reduced hospitalization due to influenza

  • Reduced child fatalities due to influenza
  • Possible improvement in the health of people with chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes

  • Prevention of pregnant women contracting influenza and spreading it to their babies

Cons

Although they are usually mild, side effects from flu shots can occur. Typical side effects include:

  • Soreness, redness and/or slight swelling at the injection spot

  • Head and muscle aches

  • Dizziness and/or fainting

  • Fever

  • Nausea

While it is rare, the vaccination can also cause more severe side effects, such as a high fever or an allergic reaction. Allergy-related symptoms can arise within minutes to hours following the vaccine. Make sure to look out for the following symptoms of an allergic reaction:

  • Trouble breathing or wheezing

  • Swelling around eyes or lips

  • Hives

  • Pale complexion

  • Weakness or dizziness

  • Rapid heartbeat

Should Your Employees Get Vaccinated?

Flu viruses are always changing, so it’s important to get vaccinated each year. While there are some possible side effects of the shot, the actual flu can be much worse to endure.

Encouraging employees to get a flu shot is an effective way to keep them from getting the flu and spreading the virus to co-workers, which can result in fewer sick days and a more productive workplace. Offering the shot for free in the office is an efficient way to make sure employees actually go through with it—eliminating the factors of cost and travel can make the process more convenient.

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