Flu vaccine: Do I get a shot now? Here’s some answers to your questions

As friends, family and co-workers fall victim to the flu, a ripe topic around the water cooler is to the annual vaccine. Confusion reigns. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevent ion has a whole page dedicated to flu vaccine myths. Here are some key answers.

Is it too late to get a shot?

No. Without a doubt, it is better to get your flu shot in the fall before the season starts — optimally in October — but there are still at least two months left in the current season. So better late than get sick.

How long does it take for the flu shot to take effect?

It takes about two weeks for the body to develop immune protection. During that time, a person can catch the bug.

Can you get the flu from the flu shot?

Emphatically no, says the CDC.

Flu vaccines will either contain an inactivated virus or recombined pieces of the virus’ DNA. However, there are side effects: soreness or redness at the shot locations, as well as low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches.

Why do some people still get the flu even after getting vaccinated?

Unlike other vaccinations, the flu shot it is not full-proof. It is an educated guess by researchers worldwide about the strains that are prevalent in any given flu season. The flu virus will also mutate a bit as it moves across the globe.

The yearly vaccine doesn’t trigger the necessary immune response in about 40 percent of the elderly — a population especially vulnerable to flu.

All that said, the flu vaccine will at the very least lessen the severity of the flu if you get it and hasten your recovery, the CDC says.

Can the flu vaccine help me fight other illness?

No. It is strictly effective only for influenza, which is a respiratory disease. It doesn’t fight the common cold virus or a stomach virus — though both have similar symptoms.

Can I die from the flu?

Absolutely, thousands of people die from the flu every year no matter how nasty the strain. The elderly and very young are particularly vulnerable, as well as pregnant women. This week a 12-year-old West Palm Beach boy died from the current strain, his family said. Jenny Spell, a Loxahatchee teenager, came close to dying two years ago and had to have a kidney transplant.

OK, I caught the flu. Now what?

Immediately seek medical attention. Anti-viral medication like Tamiflu works best when administered in the first 48 hours of experiencing symptoms. Furthermore, Tamiflu can be taken by healthy people at a lower dose if they have been exposed to flu by a family member. Sometimes secondary bacterial infections will develop, such as pneumonia, and antibiotics can be prescribed.

Should I feed a cold and starve a fever? What about chicken soup?

Someone with the flu may have no appetite, but there is no reason to not eat. Remain hydrated and hot liquids can provide fluids and soothe a sore throat.

Can someone spread the flu if he or she is feeling well?

Yes, potential Typhoid Marys. About 20 percent to 30 percent of people carrying the virus have no symptoms, according to Harvard University.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community

R. Kelly evicted from Atlanta homes, owes $30K, court documents show
R. Kelly evicted from Atlanta homes, owes $30K, court documents show

Filings with the magistrate court of Fulton County from Feb. 13 show that the Grammy-winning singer R. Kelly has been evicted from two homes in Atlanta. The  R&B singer was renting houses in the city’s Johns Creek neighborhood. The documents show that Kelly owes SB Property Management Global, LLC more than $31,000 in past due rent...
How he mastered the track of life
How he mastered the track of life

The next sedentary period in Richard Klein’s life will be the first. Sure, he may be 90 — but when he says, “I feel like I’m 39,” one believes him. After all, he and Miriam, his wife of nearly 62 years, rarely sit still. At least five days a week, the couple train in the fitness center at the Tower at MorseLife &mdash...
BAFTA Film Awards 2018: See the complete winners list
BAFTA Film Awards 2018: See the complete winners list

Check out which films, stars and directors won big Sunday at the 2018 British Academy Film Awards in London.  Best film: "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" Outstanding British film: "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer: "I Am Not a Witch,"...
WATCH: Fergie's national anthem performance at the NBA All-Star Game baffles viewers
WATCH: Fergie's national anthem performance at the NBA All-Star Game baffles viewers

Grammy award-winning recording artist Fergie was tasked with the pre-game national anthem for the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night. On paper, that sounds like a great choice, but many viewers thought it could have gone better. Critics pointed out that Fergie’s voice was oddly erratic during the anthem. One sequence even led Warriors forward...
Why car horns, planes and sirens might be bad for your heart
Why car horns, planes and sirens might be bad for your heart

The roar of a jet plane, the rumble of a big rig, that shrill scream from the siren of a speeding emergency vehicle: The common but loud noises that keep you awake at night and agitate you throughout the day may have a notable effect on your cardiovascular health, experts say. Researchers say noise pollution may increase the risk of heart disease,...
More Stories