Did you get your flu shot yet?

| November 14, 2014

Did you get your flu shot (or nasal spray) yet? If not, there's not a moment to lose since we're now on the threshold of the peak season. But even if you do get it, you still could be infected. Or maybe you're one of those people who refuse to have a shot because you'd prefer to tough it out. Whichever category you're in, here's what you need to know about risks and treatment:

Ø There are four main variants of the virus this season but some shots protect only against the three most likely risks.
Ø The vaccine is not 100 percent effective but getting a shot makes you 60 percent less likely to need treatment.
Ø If you had a shot last season, you still need another one now.
Ø Pregnancy puts you at greater risk of flu infection. The Department of Health (DOH) says you should get the shot (but not a nasal spray or gel vaccine).
Ø It takes about two weeks after your vaccination for it to offer maximum protection.
Ø You should delay getting your shot if you're currently sick with a fever.
Ø You can't catch flu from the vaccine, but…
Ø Some people experience mild side effects after being vaccinated – including headaches, fever, nausea, muscle pain, and runny nose. Adolescents may suffer a faint.
Ø Serious side effects, like high fever and breathing difficulties, are rare and usually occur swiftly.
Ø If you didn’t get your shot in time and/or develop flu:

* If the symptoms are mild, stay home and avoid contact with others (except those providing medical help if you need it).
* If the symptoms are more acute or the person is in a high risk group (e.g. children and over 65s) contact a health care provider immediately.
* If the patient has emergency symptoms like breathing difficulties, bluish skin, dehydration, unresponsiveness, or a rash with fever, go to the emergency room.

Vaccines should be available everywhere by now. The DOH recommends everyone 6 months and older should be vaccinated unless they are allergic to chicken eggs or have previously suffered a severe reaction. If you're not sure about locations, use this online search service: http://flushot.healthmap.org/

(Disclaimer: This information is from DOH sources and we can't accept liability for accuracy or your subsequent actions. Please speak to your healthcare professional if you have questions.)