MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Flu season doesn’t officially start until January, but some have already gotten the virus in the Mid-South. The Shelby County Health Department received vaccines for the flu in September and doctors urge people to get their yearly flu shot. They say getting the flu is worse than playing the odds by skipping it.
Many people have misconceptions of the flu vaccine. You cannot get sick from the flu vaccine. Doctors say people who typically feel sick after getting a flu shot probably had the flu or another virus already. It takes two weeks after getting the vaccine for your body to build up resistance against the virus.
The flu is very contagious. It is spread through water droplets that can be released into the air when a person with the flu sneezes or coughs. The Center for Disease Control reports the flu virus can live on surfaces for up to eight hours. Doctors say getting the flu this season is preventable with the vaccine and you should get it also to protect the people around you.
Dr. Helen Morrow, Shelby County Health Department, says, “People that have certain illnesses, the very young, and the very old. They're more at risk if they get the flu to suffer more with it or even die from it.”
Infants cannot get the flu shot until they are at least six months old. Pregnant woman are particularly at risk and should get a flu shot.
“When we had the swine flu, we had a number of deaths in pregnant women. We definitely recommend that they get it,” says Morrow.
For people who are leery of getting the shot because of preservatives, Dr. Morrow recommends asking for the single dose vials. They are preservative-free. The Shelby County Health Department reports no new strains of the flu virus. H1N1 is now considered a “normal” strain of the flu and is in the vaccine.