Getting a flu shot doesn’t protect just you—it benefits others as well. Two new studies published in PLoS Medicine show the importance of getting vaccinated and the effect that it has on others around you:

  • The first study, conducted at the University Medical Center in Utrechts, Netherlands, found that patients’ infections could be reduced by 60 percent if all health care workers were vaccinated.
  • In the second study, researchers from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto found that an Ontario-based program offering free flu vaccinations to everyone over the age of 6 months helped decrease flu-related deaths, hospitalizations and visits to emergency departments and doctor’s offices.

Contrary to popular belief, the flu is more than a severe cold; its symptoms range from nausea and muscle aches to extreme tiredness and even death. It is estimated that 36,000 Americans die each year from the flu or related complications.