Health officials say it's never too early to talk about the flu vaccine -- but some say it's actually too early to get the shot.
We are about a month out from the start of flu season. But family nurse practitioner Nancy Javor of Wausau's Bridge Community Health Clinic says we already need to prepare. "Australia is ending their flu season right now so we are getting ready to go into ours right now," says Javor. Health officials will look at the strains that passed through Australia and change the vaccine each year to give patients the best protection. "We're never sure what percentage of immunity you'll have, it's better than having no immunity at all."
But some people complain of not feeling well after the receiving the shot. Javor says those side effects actually mean the shot is working. "Really what they are feeling is the build-up of anti-bodies in the system... the malaise and the 'I don't feel well' and the mild nausea they may feel a couple days after that," says Javor.
Health officials say it's impossible to get the flu from vaccination because there is an inactive virus in the vaccine. But, you can get the flu from a sick person in the same hospital where you get the shot. "We spread it through individuals. It's a virus. So, it's very important to have proper hand washing. If you're sick, stay home.”
Javor says the benefits of getting the shot far outweigh the risks. "Influenza virus can actually kill someone. It can cause death," she says.
The shot protects you for six months, and the typical season lasts through March. That's why Javor recommends waiting until October to get the shot.
Javor also points out that it takes two weeks to gain full immunity from the flu vaccine. That means you could get sick during those two weeks if you come in contact with someone who's sick.
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