Health Official's urge folks to get flu vaccines

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Flu vaccines are easily accessible and local Physicians and Health Department Officials are urging everyone to get one.

The single, best way to avoid getting hit by the flu is to get vaccinated every year.

Primary Care Specialist Dr. Jeffrey Johnson said, "It is important to get vaccinated now, so that when the flu starts to come around you will have some protection against it."

Typically flu season begins in January but it has been known to pop up as early as October and last through May.

"A lot of people will ask, am I getting it to early? Is it going to wear off before flu season actually comes?" said Johnson.

Once you get the vaccine, it will last for the year. Johnson said it will not wear off before the season ends. Over the course of flu season, several types of influenza viruses can circulate at different times and in different places.

"The vaccination for this year is specific to the most common strains that are available and there appears to be no particular epidemic at this time," said Johnson, "But the way to avoid that is to get a flu shot."

Anyone over six months old can be vaccinated but it is especially wise for pregnant women, people 50 and over and those with chronic medical conditions.

"There is no reason not to get a flu vaccination if you have never had an allergic reaction to previous flu vaccines or if you are not acutely sick with some other problem."

The only other reason to not get it, is if you are allergic to eggs. Johnson said you can expect a little soreness at the injection site and possibly some swelling. Besides, it beats the alternative, a fever, headache and the achy feeling that just won't go away.

The flu vaccine is available at any local Physicians office. It is also available at your local Health Department, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.