A  A  A   Print
It's Not Too Soon to Get Your Flu Shot, Doctor Says

It's Not Too Soon to Get Your Flu Shot, Doctor Says

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- This season's flu vaccine is now available, and Americans should get their flu shot as soon as possible, an expert says.

"Contrary to some beliefs, getting the flu shot in September is a good thing and will offer protection for the entirety of the flu season," Dr. Stephen Russell, an associated professor in the general internal medicine division at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in a university news release.

"Most people will only need one shot each year, but the flu shot a patient had last year will not protect them for this coming flu season," added Russell, who also is a lead physician at the UAB Medicine Moody Clinic.

The variety of this season's vaccines differs from than of previous years. For the first time, in addition to traditional vaccines that protect against three types of flu viruses, there's also a shot that shields against four strains of the flu bug, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A flu shot contains a killed virus and will not cause illness, so people shouldn't skip getting a flu shot based on that fear, Russell said. He also said there are alternative methods of vaccination for people who don't like needles.

"There is also a nasal spray that is effective; it is a live virus vaccine but is changed to not cause infection," Russell said. "The mist is a great option for those who are nervous about shots, but is not for patients with asthma or respiratory issues, and it is not right for those with diabetes."

He said the flu is a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization or even death and anyone who is eligible to get a flu shot should do so.

"Many people will say they do not need the vaccine, as they have never had the flu before, but that is like saying you don't need to wear your seatbelt because you have never had a wreck," Russell said. "You may have been fine in the past, but that should not offer security or protection for future exposures to the flu."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone aged 6 months and older. It's especially important for people 65 and older, pregnant women, caregivers and people with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about seasonal flu vaccination.

SOURCE: University of Alabama at Birmingham, news release, Sept. 19, 2013

 
Today's Interactive Tools

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.