Ward off flu, get vaccinated

blog-100114-fluWant to avoid the flu this year? Dr. Simon Whitney, associate professor of family and community medicine at Baylor College of Medicine offers this advice: Get vaccinated.

The flu vaccine is now recommended for everyone over 6 months old, including pregnant women, he said. Last flu season hit middle-aged people especially hard, so no one is immune from the flu.

“The flu is a serious infection,” said Dr. Whitney. “In a good year, as few as 5,000 Americans die of the flu; in a bad year it can be as high as 50,000. Most of the victims are among babies and the elderly but the flu can be fatal in any age group.”

The vaccine is made from an inactivated flu virus, so you can’t get the flu from it. The most common side effect is a sore shoulder where the shot is given. Some people develop low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches. These side effects generally are not severe, don’t last long and are not the same as getting the flu itself, he said.

Don’t like needles, you can still get protected with nasal spray that has been approved for those ages 2 to 49.

Additional Resources

Flu Central

Get more advice for flu season from Dr. Whitney

Our expert helps sort myth from fact

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