COLORADO SPRINGS — As the Your Healthy Family reporter for KOAA News5, you’re always hearing me say, “you should get a flu shot.”
As part of this story, not only am I getting mine, I’m discussing many of the common myths about the flu shot and the biggest reasons you should get a flu shot, with the pharmacy director for Safeway/Albertsons, Nikki Price.
First Nikki says, getting a flu shot isn't just about protecting you. “You're not only protecting yourself, your protecting all of those around you. You may be that individual who never gets a cold or a sinus infection and is very healthy. You could still become a carrier of the flu, and then if you come in contact with somebody who has an immune issue - our elderly, babies, those who have autoimmune diseases, or asthma - those are the ones really you're protecting all around you.”
Next Nikki says you can't get the flu from the flu shot. “The flu shot is considered a dead virus, meaning it's not live so you can't get the flu from it. That's always a misconception around the flu shot so that's good to know first. Secondly, the way that it works even though it's a dead virus your body does react to it, creating antigens. Anytime you inject something in your body or put something in your body your body has a reaction, in this case is antibodies are built up against the antigen.”
Nikki says that If you do get a flu shot, you might still get the flu to some degree, and yes the strains in the vaccine year to year are a best guess by the CDC, but that's not a reason to not get your flu shot. “If you get the flu because there's a different strain out there a new strain in the community, getting your flu shot still help because it will lessen the amount of symptoms that you may get, even if you get a strain that wasn't covered in the flu shot.”
These days you don't even have to go to your doctor's office to get a flu shot. Nikki says, “Safeway and Albertsons offer the flu shot without an appointment. You can walk into any store that has a pharmacy and ask for a flu shots You will have to fill out a little bit of paperwork and then we will give you the flu shot, and then we'll also give you a 10% off coupon off your groceries.”
Nikki says finally, with a bad flu season in the forecast and the holiday’s coming fast now is the time to get your flu vaccine. “With the holidays coming up, we tend to spend a lot of time with our families and extended families and friends at Christmas parties and holiday parties. You're going to come into contact with some of those (at-risk) individuals. There's been a lot of news in terms of the flu season in the southern hemisphere, specifically Australia where it’s been bad. That’s usually an indicator of what our flu season is going to be like, so it’s extremely important that we get our community friends protected.”
If you have questions about the flu shot, follow up with your doctor or pharmacist.