As flu season shifts into full swing, many state governments are urging residents to get their flu shots before it’s too late. For more info on this year’s flu season and why it is important to get a flu shot, as well as a little informational video on how the flu work, keep on reading after the jump.

flu shot

For many, fall and winter signals the beginnings of the holiday season, but for many others it means the arrival of another yearly tradition: the flu!

Last year’s H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic left a lot of people really sick wishing they had gotten their flu shots. Every year the influenza virus changes slightly, but most vaccines do a good job of protecting those who get the shot. However, the surprise arrival and takeover of H1N1 left many scrambling to figure out what to do. The regular flu vaccine had already been developed, and while scientists rushed to create and approve an H1N1 vaccine, supplies were limited to those at a high risk for catching the disease, such as young children, pregnant women, and the elderly.

This year is the first year that the CDC is recommending everyone get a flu shot, not just those at high risk for infection. Before you panic, this is just a precaution. This year’s vaccine has been developed to cover not only strains of influenza A and B, but also H1N1. Health researchers are expecting a normal flu season, and not a scary pandemic like last year, but it is too early to tell for sure how bad this year’s flu will be. Numbers of cases are beginning to rise in the southeast, which is normal due to the fact that it stays warmer their longer into the winter, and those who have been vaccinated are reporting that it seems to be working just fine.

After last year’s frightening and complicated flu season, most people aren’t taking any chances. In a survey, nearly 1/3 of Americans have reported getting vaccinate by the end of November, with another 25% saying they would definitely be getting a flu shot, and still another 25% reporting they would probably get vaccinated.

I caught the early swing of the flu season this year, having come down with the virus in September after avoided it for the past 2 years. I had not yet been vaccinated (I am now!) and if my experience was any indication, this year’s strain is pretty gruesome. I highly recommend taking the time to go get a vaccination, because it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

What do you guys think? Will this year’s flu season be as bad as last year? Have you received a flu shot yet, and if not, do you plan on it? Let us know by leaving us some comments, and check out this educational (and entertaining) video about how the flu virus works.