Health officials dispel myths about flu shots - WSMV Channel 4

Health officials dispel myths about flu shots

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Flu season is quickly approaching, and there are several resources available to help you get ready.

There are a number of places to go to get your flu shot this year, including your doctor's office, a pharmacy clinic or the health department.

According to health officials, everybody ages 6 months and above should get the annual shot, especially those at risk for other health problems.

"Those with chronic illness and the elderly, they may not be able to fight off the flu, so it can lead to more serious illness like pneumonia. Every year in Tennessee, pneumonia is the leading cause of death, and it can be prevented with the flu shot," said Brian Todd, with the Metro Health Department.

That's why staff at places like the Metro Health Department are already providing the flu shot. The vaccination takes a few weeks to kick in, so now may be a good time to act.

"If you're getting it now, or in October or even November in Middle Tennessee, it will give you enough time for you to get the shot and fully protect you before flu season gets underway," Todd said.

Flu season typically peaks toward the end of December or early January, but it can last well into April.

In the past, some people have been concerned that they'll get sick after getting the shot, but health officials say there's no need to worry.

"For the flu vaccine that you get the shot in the arm, it's not a live virus. It might cause your arm to be a little sore, but it won't cause the flu," Todd said.

Another option is the flu mist, which does contain a live, weakened virus. If you go that route, you could feel body aches or run a low-grade fever.

But, according to the CDC, because the mist contains a weakened virus, it cannot cause the flu.

For more information on misconceptions about flu shots, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm.

The Metro Health Department is offering flu shots. See more details here: http://www.nashville.gov/News-Media/News-Article/ID/2069/Metro-Public-Health-Department-Begins-Offering-Flu-Shots.aspx.

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