Flu shot: Your best bet to prevent influenza
With flu season right around the corner, pharmacists are urging people to get their vaccinations — if not to help themselves, then those around them.
Ashley Seakan, the pharmacy manager at Hannaford Supermarkets in Rome, said the best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu shot.
“It’s been studied and recommended that six months and older get their flu shot annually,” Seakan said. “It’s not just to reduce illness but also to slow down doctor visits. And the less missed school and the less missed work for parents caring for them, the better.”
Those concerned with side effects of the flu shot should expect no severe symptoms.
“The side effects we run into are usually pain at the injection site, maybe some fatigue or headache, but children seem to be less likely to get side effects,” Seakan said. “There is the chance for things like fever, chills, and feeling run down. But the arm pain is what we hear the most.”
More than anything, Seakan wanted to emphasize that the flu vaccine does not give people the flu. “If you got the flu shot, then get sick, then you were most likely sick before the shot,” she said, explaining that the flu vaccine can kick up an immune response in some cases that seems like a sickness but then quickly goes away.
With school starting soon, it’s important to keep children healthy in the classroom. And not just for the flu.
COVID-19 vaccinations are also being encouraged for anyone not yet vaccinated.
“For any age group, it’s important to be vaccinated,” Seakan said. “Children five to 11 have been eligible. School-aged children have had the ability to get vaccinated and are eligible for boosters. And they just approved COVID-19 vaccinations for children under five.”
COVID-19 vaccines are still available and free to all. Those with health insurance usually have their flu vaccine covered in full. Those without insurance are encouraged to speak with a pharmacist about options for flu vaccination.
“It’s so important to get a flu shot every year because each flu season is different,” Seakan said. The pharmacy manager recommended people get their flu vaccine by at least the end of October, as it takes two weeks for the antibodies to develop.
“And we’ve got flu shots here at Hannaford, and they’re available,” she added.
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