Happy Family

The Facts About Flu Shots

When you have the flu, it feels like you've been hit with a ton of bricks. So be ready this year! The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu shot. Dr. Sara Cobine, a family medicine doctor at Olathe Health Family Medicine - Osawatomie, answers frequently asked questions about the flu shot.

How does a flu shot protect me during the flu season?

The flu vaccine causes antibodies to build up in your system about two weeks after you get the vaccination. Those antibodies help protect against the viruses that are in the vaccine and keep you from getting sick.

Why is it important to get a flu shot annually?

Protection from the vaccine declines over time, so it's important to get a shot each year to help protect you from the flu. Also, the most common strains of the flu are always changing, and the formulation within the flu vaccine is reviewed annually to keep up with the most prevalent strains.

When should I get vaccinated?

Seasonal flu activity typically occurs between October and May. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available, if possible by October. However, getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial.

Can the flu vaccine give me the flu?

The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. The flu vaccine that is given with a needle is made in one of two ways: with an "inactivated" virus or no virus at all, and therefore neither of these can cause the flu.

Is the vaccine dangerous?

Vaccines are continually monitored for safety. Just like medications, vaccines can have side effects, but almost all of them are minor and go away on their own. There is a much higher likelihood of bad outcomes from getting the flu than from getting the flu vaccine. This statement applies to all diseases for which we have a vaccine.

What should I do if I think I have the flu?

If you have symptoms of the flu, which include fever, chills, cough, body aches, runny nose, sore throat and fatigue, you should contact your doctor. There are antiviral drugs available to treat the flu virus, and your doctor may consider prescribing one of these for you.

To learn more about Dr. Cobine, or to schedule an appointment with her, click here.

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