NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The worst of flu season will be here soon.
The flu virus usually starts showing up in October in the Midstate, peaking from Thanksgiving to February.
Free flu shots are being offered this year to everyone in the state on Nov. 19.
Every county health department, including Metro Nashville Public Health Department, will be setting up free flu shot clinics that day.
In Nashville, three clinics will be set up, including the Lentz Public Health Center on Charlotte Pike.
Health officials said there’s a lot of misinformation about the vaccine and they’re trying to clear that up.
The prediction is that there will be a flu season and it will be bad for some people.
Dr. William Shaffner, an infectious disease specialist with Vanderbilt University, said while there is an ebb and flow to the flu season, depending on your age and immune system.
“The recommendation is so simple. If you’re older than six months, you should be vaccinated,” said Shaffner.
We’ve heard the claim if you’re healthy, you don’t need a flu shot, but here’s the problem with that.
“You don’t want to be a dreaded spreader and give it to other people,” said Shaffner.
Steve Johnson hasn’t had his flu shot yet. He doesn’t want to be a dreaded spreader.
“They call it a herd vaccination. It’s a good argument to get a shot,” said Johnson.
Another myth making the rounds is a flu shot can give you the flu.
Some people do get sore at the injection site, but here’s where people get confused.
“A small percentage, about 3%, will get a low-grade fever. That’s not the flu, it’s just a reaction to the vaccine,” said Shaffner.
Ashley Thurman has never had a flu shot and never had the flu. This year, though, is different.
“I just had a child, so I’m getting it for the first time because it’s important for him,” said Thurman.
The bottom line: “Does it work? and will it be safe? Both of those, the answer is yes,” said Shaffner.
Shaffner said there are two benefits to both mother and child for pregnant women to be vaccinated.
“One, when they get a flu, a pregnant woman is more likely to get pneumonia and other complications. We want to protect them,” said Shaffner. “Two, the protection their bodies make passes through the placenta and to the newborn baby, protecting the baby against the flu.”