People come up with all kinds of excuses to avoid getting the flu vaccine. You probably know at least one person who claims he or she came down with the flu days after getting a flu vaccine. Though your friend might have felt sick, the vaccine wasn't to blame for the ailment. You can't catch the flu from the vaccine, because the version of the virus used in flu shots is dead. In the nasal spray vaccine the virus is severely weakened, so it's not likely to cause more than a few sniffles or sneezes. Chances are, your friend either had a bad cold or another respiratory infection, not the flu. You are actually far safer getting the vaccine than skipping it.
If you listen to these misconceptions and don't get your flu vaccine, you could catch the latest circulating influenza strain and spend a week or more sidelined from work or school and feeling miserable. Even worse, you could get really sick and wind up in the hospital.
You can get the influenza vaccine once a year to protect yourself from catching the flu. It is recommended to get your vaccine by October, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating in the community, it is not too late to get vaccinated.
When it comes to the flu vaccine, the question shouldn't be if you should get it, but rather what type you should get: shot or nasal spray.
If you're not a fan of shots, the nasal spray vaccine is a good alternative, but it's only approved for non-pregnant people ages 2 to 49 who are generally in good health without chronic health conditions such as asthma, heart or lung disease, or diabetes. Because the spray contains a live but weakened form of the virus, it's not recommended for people with diseases that interfere with the immune system. It also should not be used in children less than 5 years old with asthma or a history of wheezing in the past year, people with muscle or nerve disorders that can lead to breathing or swallowing problems, and children on long-term aspirin treatment. If you have a stuffy nose or other nasal problem that makes breathing difficult, you should get the shot.
The shot is approved for everyone over 6 months, but some people should make sure it’s OK to take the vaccine. Ask your doctor first if:
- You’ve had an allergic reaction to a flu shot in the past.
- You’ve had Guillain-Barre syndrome that happened after you got the flu vaccine. That’s a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the nervous system.
- You’re very ill. If you have a mild illness, it's OK to get vaccinated. Otherwise, talk to your doctor first.
Make an appointment to get your flu shot today!
For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
The Allergy & Asthma Specialty Clinic is the premier
facility in West Central Minnesota for the treatment of allergy,
asthma, and immunologic diseases.
We know that living with the symptoms of allergy and asthma can range from
being annoying to potentially life threatening. That is why our entire
focus is on you our patient. From research, to prevention,
to the latest in treatment
options, our goal is helping you breathe easier season after season.
Dr. Ellingson is very thorough. She realizes that allergies
and asthma relate to other parts of the body and other disease
systems. She wants to treat the cause, not just the symptoms.
Dr. Ellingson also believes in patient education; our staff spends a great deal of time teaching our patients the why's
and how's of their disease. The better informed you are about
allergies and asthma, the more proactive you can be in your
The Allergy and Asthma Clinic is headquartered in Willmar,
Minnesota with satellite offices in
Marshall and Hutchinson.