The new flu vaccine for the upcoming flu season is now available, and medical professionals are advising everyone to head in sooner rather than later for their annual flu shot.
Dr. Stan Garrett, a family medicine physician at the Covenant West Clinic said that he’s already been busy this year giving flu shots.
“We want to protect you against the flu, hopefully you’ve never had the flu it’s not a very pleasant thing to have because you get sick you get fever, you hurt, you’re hot all the time, you don’t feel that good,” Garrett explained.
Garrett explained that for those who get the flu, while there are treatments which can decrease flu symptoms, there isn’t medication that can completely cure the flu.
He said that scientists spend months creating a flu vaccine that targets the particular strains of the flu virus they believe to be a threat for the upcoming year.
“What they try to do is they try to predict what the disease is going to be this year,” Garrett explained.
Garrett said that he usually recommends that people get their flu shots in mid-September through early October. That is because the highest risk time for flu season is between October and April, Garrett said. He added that it takes two weeks after receiving the vaccine to be fully protected from the virus.
After that point, the vaccine should protect you from the flu for six to eight months, Garrett said.
While doctors want the public to protect themselves against the flu, one change this year is that doctors are recommending that patients only get the flu shot and not the flu nasal spray.
“The CDC has been studying the last two seasons and found out that the protection that is given by the nasal flu vaccine does not reach the levels needed to prevent the flu,” Garrett said. “So the CDC along with the different medical specialty organizations recommended not to utilize the flu vaccine inter nasally this year because it’s not as effective as the injections.”
Garrett explained that physicians want everyone to take the flu vaccine, but he especially recommends that people over the age of 65, people with chronic diseases, and children take the time to get vaccinated.
He added that while some patients with egg allergies have expressed concerns about the flu vaccine, the CDC has said that the flu vaccine shouldn’t be a concern for them unless they have an anaphylactic reaction to eggs. If that’s the case, there are vaccines available which are not egg-based, just ask your physician about it.
Garrett also said that for those patients over 65, a high does vaccine is also available that is proven to have better protection for them.