What You Need to Know About the Flu Shot

Posted on: September 05, 2018

The Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) has released its recommendations for this year’s flu season. Flu season begins in late fall. Cases typically increase in October and November, usually peaking between December and February.  Flu season can last until May.

Jeff Mullins, M.D., a family practitioner, with Methodist Medical Group, says don’t wait too long to get your flu shot.

“It takes two weeks for the flu shot to take effect,” said Dr. Mullins. “I typically tell my patients to get vaccinated by Halloween.”

The CDC has issued a number of guidelines for the 2018/2019 flu season.

  • If you are allergic to eggs, do not get the flu shot.
  • Children 6 months old and up should get vaccinated.
  • Pregnant women and women who are thinking about getting pregnant should get vaccinated.
  • People who have a comprised immune system should get vaccinated.
  • Use the flu vaccine with the killed virus.

“Every year I remind people that you cannot get the flu from the flu shot,” said Dr. Mullins. “The virus is a killed virus; therefore it is not possible to get the flu from the vaccine.”

However, Dr. Mullins says if you are exposed to the flu virus before your flu shot becomes effective, you can get the flu and mistakenly think you caught the flu from the vaccine.

Even though the flu vaccine is not 100% effective, Dr. Mullins says it’s very important to get vaccinated because the flu can be extremely serious and even deadly. The vaccine provides you with some protection and helps lessen its severity.

Symptoms of the flu include:

  • Getting sick quickly
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Aches and pains
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache

If you experience these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor quickly. If you are seen within 48 to 72 hours after getting sick, your doctor can prescribe medicine that can lessen your symptoms and help you recover faster.

Make an appointment with your primary care physician to get a flu shot, or visit one of Methodist’s Minor Medical Centers where you can walk in without an appointment to get a flu shot.