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More adults and children should consider the flu shot; it benefits both adult and child more than not having the vaccination. The cooler evenings, changing of the leaves and return to school signify that autumn is near. That most likely means that more people are thinking about the upcoming flu season. In the United States, the flu season typically ranges from November through March, but it is never too early to start preparing. People should know about the advantages and disadvantages of the influenza virus. Origin”People have suffered from influenza for thousands of years. Viruses identical or closely related to the human form of the infection can be isolated from ducks, turkeys, swine, horses, and many other species of warm-blooded vertebrates, as well. It is hypothesized that humans probably acquired influenza when domestication of animals first began. The development of agriculture and the establishment of permanent settlements provided sufficient numbers of potential hosts to create an epidemic. The term ‘influenza’ was coined by an Italian in the mid-1700’s to connote a disease resulting from miasma (bad air). The human disease is thought to have arisen about 6000 years ago.” (Medical Ecology >> Infectious Diseases >> Influenza)Health Risks/BenefitsThe influenza virus (flu) can have pros and cons depending on the cautionary measures you do or do not take. This potentially deadly virus is steadily becoming very serious due to the ignorance that is displayed by people who get affected by the virus. In most circumstances, those affected by the flu virus simply take a one to two week break to stay at home and try to heal on their own instead of seeking medication or the flu shot (which is free!). This behavior has resulted in the spread of flu to a large number of the population in the United States. Most people can mistake the flu for a bad cold. While the flu and a bad cold can have pretty much the same symptoms it is best to go to the doctor and get tested to rule out any type of serious illness because it is good to catch it early rather than later. During this flu season, many schools and government buildings around the United States have shut down and sent people home due to the widespread flu virus. This year’s flu is nasty and only getting worse. More than 30 children have died just this year from the flu virus. “Overall, there were 31.5 hospitalizations for every 100,000 people during the week ending January 13, compared with 22.7 per 100,000 for the week ending January 6” (Scutti). Even though he flu shot may or may not be effective it is important to get it just in case you come in contact with it. “It’s estimated that 71 to 85 percent of flu-related deaths happen to people 65 years and older. Between 54 and 70 percent of flu-related hospitalizations  occur among people 65 years and older” (The Advantages and Disadvantages of Flu Shots). After vaccination, your immune system produces antibodies that will protect you from the vaccine viruses. If you still get the flu, the vaccine helps you fend off life-threatening complications.Like everything in this world, there are pros and cons to every situation. The flu has many different advantages as well as disadvantages to your overall health. Some advantages are: “sometimes different strains of the flu virus begin spreading simultaneously. You may become infected with a strain of the flu virus that is different from the strain that was in your flu shot. The good news is you can still benefit from the flu shot, and possibly have a less severe case even if you do contract a different strain of the flu” (The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Flu).  A flu shot usually protects you for up to a year, against the strain of the flu virus that was added to the flu vaccine you received. With advantages comes disadvantages: “There can be several side effects from getting a flu shot, including: aches, low-grade fever, and soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. The intradermal flu shot may cause toughness and itching at the injection site” (The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Flu). The flu shot is not recommended for some people. There are flu shots that are approved for use in people as young as 6 months of age and up. Flu shots are approved for use in pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions. Children younger than 6 months are too young to get a flu shot, and people with severe, life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine are not approved to get the vaccination. Alternatives to avoid the flu”We just need to nurture our innate immunity with good habits like taking probiotics supplements and supporting immunity through natural means– here you will find more than 20 natural flu remedies using natural antivirals” (Health Freedom Idaho). Even though the flu shot may not be 100% effective, you can build your immune system natural rather than getting your body injected with toxins that may not help you. It is recommended that “everyone aged 6 months or older receive an influenza vaccine every year, by the end of October if possible. However, significant seasonal influenza virus activity can continue into May, so vaccination later in the season can still be beneficial” (Medscape Log In). Some healthy alternatives to avoiding the flu virus is: zinc, green tea, elderberry, lemon balm, vitamin D and C, probiotics, etc. Exercise is a very important aspect in maintaining good health. If you take intimate steps in being healthy the less chance you are to catching any type of illness/virus. You can catch the flu virus or any other virus by direct contact with the people you are surrounded by. With that being said, it is important to wash your hands when touching something or someone. ConclusionVaccines remain the best protection against influenza for virtually everyone. The flu viruses selected for inclusion into the seasonal flu vaccines are updated each year based on information about which viruses are found, how they are spreading, and how well the previous season’s vaccine viruses might protect against any that are being newly identified. As many of us know, this year’s flu vaccine was only 10% effective that has left many in the hospital and/or dead. It is still important to be prepared in any way possible to avoid getting this virus whether it is effective or defective.