Flu Shots – What You Need to Know

No one likes to get sick. Getting the flu takes you out of school, work and away from family time during the holidays. There are always a lot of myths about flu shots each year. Luckily, Dr. Melissa Marshall, CommuniCare’s Chief Medical Officer, has some answers to your common questions. Family flu shots are available now. Make your appointment – Call (530) 753-3498

What is the flu shot?
The flu shot is a vaccine given with a needle, usually in the arm. The seasonal flu shot protects against the three or four influenza (flu) viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.

When is flu season?
While seasonal flu viruses can be detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.

Who should get vaccinated this season?
Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine, every season. Pregnant women are advised to be vaccinated against flu as well. Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant.

What are the risks from getting a flu shot?
You cannot get the flu from a flu shot. The risk of a flu shot causing serious harm is extremely small. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, may rarely cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. Almost all people who get influenza vaccine have no serious problems from it.

What is the risk of getting the flu?
Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.  Young children, adults aged 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions are among those groups of people who are a high risk of serious flu complications, possibly requiring hospitalization and sometimes resulting in death. For example, people with chronic lung disease are at higher risk of developing severe pneumonia.

Can the flu shot give me the flu?
No, a flu shot cannot give you the flu. Flu vaccines are made from either ‘inactivated’ viruses or without virus at all (which is the case for recombinant influenza vaccine). In studies, where some people got flu shots and others got saltwater shots, the only differences in symptoms was increased soreness in the arm and redness at the injection site among people who got the flu shot. There were no differences in terms of body aches, fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat.

We are now offering family flu shots. You don’t need to have health insurance to receive care at CommuniCare, but we do take Medi-Cal, Medicare, CMSP and most forms of insurance. Learn more about the common flu at the Center for Disease Control Website and visit your family care provider at CommuniCare today in Woodland, Davis and West Sacramento. Make your Flu shot appointment now!  Call (530) 753-3498