DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am 28 and healthy. I have never gotten a flu shot and have never had the flu. Do I really need a flu vaccination? My employer is recommending it for everyone, but I am hesitant. I have heard some people get sick from the actual vaccination.
ANSWER: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older be vaccinated every year against influenza. Being young and healthy does not protect you against getting the flu. Even someone like you, who has not had influenza in the past, should still get an annual flu vaccine. In some cases, people may develop minor flu-like symptoms after getting the vaccine. But the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu.
Influenza is a viral respiratory infection that tends to come on suddenly. The influenza virus is a systemic virus. That means it circulates throughout the body in the bloodstream. Symptoms typically include fever, aching muscles, chills, sweats, headache, feeling tired and weak, coughing and nasal congestion.