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Runner's World: Should I Get the Flu Shot?

Runners World recently interviewed Joshua Scott, MD, a primary care sports medicine physician at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute, about the pros and cons of the flu shot for marathon and competitive runners.

“The flu is a virus, and it can be severe for certain groups of people, like young people, old people and those with chronic medical conditions,” Scott told Runners World. In addition to his role with Cedars-Sinai, Scott is also a medical consultant to USA Track and Field.

One of the biggest points to consider, Scott suggests, is remembering that the flu is viral – meaning antibiotics cannot “knock it out.”

“You can take over-the-counter meds to help mitigate some of the symptoms, but most bouts of the flu last one to two weeks. The more missed workouts that rack up, the more likely it is to affect your overall training and readiness to race.”

Runners World also discussed the misconceptions associated with the effectiveness of the flu shot. Last year, the article states, the Centers for Disease Control reported that the flu shot reduced people’s risk of ending up at the doctor’s office by 40%.

Although that may sound low, Scott says “even small decreases in the number of cases can dramatically and positively affect public health.”

During the 2018-2019 flu season, only 45 percent of U.S. adults received the flu vaccine, according to the CDC, even though the national goal is to have 70 percent of U.S. adults vaccinated. 

One reason why avid or competitive runners might shy away from getting the shot is the myth that the flu shot will cause you to get sick. That simply isn't possible because the vaccine contains an inactivated virus, Runner's World wrote. 


Read the complete story here.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai blog: Tips to Survive Peak Flu Season from a Cedars-Sinai Expert