Flu season is just around the corner and now is the time to get a flu shot.
"Anytime from October to March is a great time to get a flu shot as the flu season can run even into April," Infection Control Officer at St. Vincent-Clay Hospital Penny Schafer said. "It is important, however, to get one as soon as possible because it takes a couple of weeks for the shot to take effect."
One misconception about a flu shot is that it causes a person to get sick with the flu.
"Flu shots do not cause someone to get the flu," Part-Time Staff Nurse for the Clay County Health Department Linda Messmer said. "Many times a person has a virus already in their body when they get the shot and since it takes a little while to take effect, it only appears that they shot caused the illness."
Another area in which a flu shot causes confusion is in what type of flu it helps prevent.
"This type of flu shot does not prevent the common stomach flu, of which there is no vaccine for," Schafer said. "This shot prevents influenza, which is a respiratory flu that in some serious cases can cause pneumonia."
Schafer also said residents over the age of 60 should also consider getting a pneumonia shot, which only needs to be received once every five years.
However, the flu shot is needed every year as it changed to compensate for the most prevalent strands of influenza at the time.
"Certain types of influenza last for a couple of years at a time as they travel around the world," Schafer said. "Because of this, flu shots are based on the major strand from the previous year to help keep people healthy."
The Clay County Health Department will not be giving out flu shots this year, and St. Vincent Clay Hospital will be having a shot clinic, but the date and time has not yet been set.
"We are still working to set our clinic, but we will be out at the schools from Oct. 15-26, to provide teachers and staff members with flu shots," Schaffer said.
There are areas around Brazil, like Wal-Mart and Kroger, in which flu shot clinics will be held.
"There are many opportunities for someone to get a flu shot," Schafer said. "Residents should also contact their personal physicians to see if the local doctor's offices will be holding clinics as well."