PORTLAND, Maine — It may seem like flu season just ended, but doctors are saying it is already time to get this year's flu shot.
Dr. Dora Anne Mills of MaineHeath says September is an ideal time to get the shot. She says it takes two full weeks after vaccination for it to work.
"To me, if you defer a vaccine, that also may be a vaccine that's not received, so I think its important right now to go out and get it," Mills said.
The Centers for Disease Control says flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses. Options this season include:
- Standard dose flu shots. These are given into the muscle. They are usually given with a needle, but two (Afluria and Afluria Quadrivalent) can be given to some people (those 18 to 64 years old) with a jet injector.
- High-dose shots for older people.
- Shots made with adjuvant for older people.
- Shots made with virus grown in cell culture.
- Shots made using a vaccine production technology (recombinant vaccine) that does not require the use of flu virus.
- Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) – or the nasal spray vaccine – is also an option for use during the 2018-2019 season for persons whom it is otherwise appropriate
The CDC recommends people 6 months of age or older get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Mills says in the last 10 years, the flu seasons have become more unpredictable.
"They've started earlier, ended later. We saw influenza this summer, which is very rare," Mills said.
She says the best protection is to get the vaccine. She also says to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, wash your hands, and if you do get sick, stay home.
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