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

WATCH: Adoptive mom's heartwarming video shows older boys including shy son in basketball game
WATCH: Adoptive mom's heartwarming video shows older boys including shy son in basketball game

A video and message posted by a Green County, Oklahoma, mom is spreading quickly on social media. Christy Rowden posted the video Monday afternoon after a heartwarming moment at a park. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  Rowden said she was at the park with her two children that afternoon when a bus...
Philip Roth dead at 85: Writers, public figures remember Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Philip Roth dead at 85: Writers, public figures remember Pulitzer Prize-winning author

Philip Roth – the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "American Pastoral" and other highly acclaimed works such as "Portnoy's Complaint," "The Human Stain" and "The Plot Against America" – has died of congestive heart failure, The Associated Press reported late Tuesday. He was 85. Fellow writers...
Milkweed feasting more than you realize
Milkweed feasting more than you realize

As we all strive to get our hands on every native milkweed for our states and to the ultimate benefit of the Monarch butterfly I thought I might plug its use for the other guys. Your first thought might be I’m talking about the Queen or Soldier butterflies that are related to the Monarch and also must have milkweeds as larval host plants. That&rsquo...
The patties are plump at Courtney’s Stuffed Burgers
The patties are plump at Courtney’s Stuffed Burgers

MENU It’s basically a burger joint. Also on the menu are hot dogs, wings, wraps, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and stuffed baked potatoes. For dessert, there are ice cream, sundaes, shakes, Key lime pie and chocolate lava cake. ATMOSPHERE Beachy, with surfboards decorating the walls. Above the door to the kitchen hangs a sign: Big Kahuna...
9 tips for using mirrors in your space

Mirrors are one of those accessories that tend to be either overused or underused. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and finishes, and as such serve as the perfect complement to nearly any space. Mirrors can be purposeful in design, and if used thoughtfully, can add considerable value to a space both aesthetically and functionally. When looking...
More Stories