No 'early' timeframe for flu shots, say experts

Doctors urge people to go ahead and get flu shots squared away. (Source: WAFF file)
Doctors urge people to go ahead and get flu shots squared away. (Source: WAFF file)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - It has become a no-brainer decision for a lot of people - a brief moment of discomfort that leads to months of peace of mind.

September may seem too early to begin worrying about the seasonal flu shot, but doctors said it is never too early for preventative care.

Dr. Tim Howard used the old phrase, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care" when discussing getting flu inoculations. He said the shot is your best defense; this year's shot is made up of the most common strains of influenza over the last several years.

"Typically, about every five to six years is when you have a shift and you'll have a new strain," Dr. Howard explained. "Those are the ones you'll most likely have more infections, because the vaccine wouldn't cover it."

Dr. Howard agrees with many experts who say it is never too early to get the shot. While September may seem early for the vaccine to be on the shelves, it is actually right on schedule.

"What was unusual was the several years that we had it so late, whether it be the manufacturing delay or underproduction," he noted.

Carol Crowson said her husband paid the price for not taking the vaccination last year.

"He doesn't take a flu shot, and he got very very sick," she recalled. She explained that her husband is skeptical of the shot's ingredients. Many others are too, swearing they got the flu from the shot.

Dr. Howard contends that is not true. While side effects can happen, he said they are rare, and catching the flu as a result of taking the vaccination is impossible. You can, however, catch it in the time it takes the vaccine to enter your system and take effect.

Josephine Stroud told us she's taking no chances this year, especially because she said she is likely more susceptible.

"I'm at that age that I might, so I think it is important," she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes it easy for you to learn more about your options regarding seasonal flu vaccinations. From ingredient lists, to alternative delivery devices such as nasal sprays, check the CDC's flu vaccine primer for more answers to concerns you may have.

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