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As the dog days of summer end and the cool mornings of fall creep in, we enter one of the deadliest times of the year, flu season. Although summer is still a fresh memory, it doesn’t stop signs of flu season from appearing.

Last season in Pennsylvania, more than 121,300 cases of the fu were reported between October 2017 and May 2018. Of those reported, 256 of those cases ended in death, which marks a record for the state of Pennsylvania.

These haunting statistics have resulted in many healthcare professionals to bring the importance of getting a flu vaccine. Although we can’t predict how bad this season will be, health experts urge that avoiding a flu shot is not worth the gamble.

To feel more prepared for the upcoming flu season, here few things you will want to know:

Get a flu vaccine at the beginning of the season. 

One of the best ways to not get the flu is to get the vaccine at the very beginning of the season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a normal flu season runs from October until May and peaks between December and February.

After getting vaccinated, it can take up to two weeks for your body to develop the antibodies to protect you from the flu. In general, the CDC recommends getting a vaccine by the end of October.

You can’t get the flu from a flu shot. 

This is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to a flu shot. When a flu shot is administered with a needle the vaccine is made in one of two ways:

  1. The virus is inactive and therefore not infectious
  2. The flu vaccine contains no virus at all

Whichever type of vaccine you get, you will not contract a virus. Common side effects from the shot include soreness, tenderness, and redness at the injection site, as well as a low-grade fever, headache, and muscle ache. Although some may construe these effects as flu symptoms, they are not anything to worry about.

This year the nasal spray may be more effective. 

In the past, the CDC has not recommended the nasal spray in replace of the shot. However, after a 2-year hiatus, the nasal spray has been approved for those between the ages of 2 to 49, and for women who are not pregnant.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, states that not while no vaccine is 100 percent effective, some protection is better than none at all. 

To get a receive a flu vaccine for the 2018-2019 season visit your doctor or find a pharmacy near you.