Ah-CHOO! … It’s about time to get that flu shot

If you haven’t already, you might start seeing signs promoting flu shots. Doctors want you to get one sooner than later.

“Just get one as soon as it’s available, no rush. But get it before the end of October,” said Dr. Glenn Wortmann, director of infectious diseases at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Different pharmacies and doctors might stock different vaccines, the trivalent (three-component) shot or the quadrivalent (four-component) flu shot. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention didn’t have a preference in the 2018-2019 season.

“The fourth strain picks up an extra strain, which usually is more common in children. So for adults, either the three- or the four-strain vaccine is fine,” Wortmann said.

As for whether the 2019-2020 season’s vaccine is a good match against what’s to come, or how bad the season might be?

“We’ll have to see once the virus starts circulating in the Northern Hemisphere,” Wortmann said, while noting that last season wasn’t that bad.

“The vaccine, the efficacy was about the same as it had been in the past, and the flu season was not as severe as some flu seasons we’ve had in the past.”

The CDC recommends that everyone 6-months-old and older get a flu shot every season, especially if they’re at high risk for the flu.

High risk groups include people age 65 and older, children younger than 5 years old and people with conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Children who are between 6-months and 8-years-old need two doses of the vaccine to be protected. The CDC recommends they get their first shot as soon as they’re available, followed by a second dose at least four weeks later.

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