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County urges flu shots

It’s not too late to get your flu shot, according to Hood River County Health Department.

Flu season has started about one month early this year and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) is predicting it may be a bad flu season — meaning more people than usual experiencing flu, more hospitalizations and more deaths. The good news is it looks like this year’s vaccine is a good match to the flu viruses people are experiencing.

There is a common misconception about the flu vaccine that it gives you the flu, according to Health Department officials. This isn’t true — the flu shot cannot give you the flu: It is made from inactivated/killed virus.

Sometimes people get sick around the time of their shot (because this is the time of year lots of crud is going around) and assume they caught the flu from the shot. Usually they were already exposed, or they are exposed shortly after receiving the shot. The flu shot takes two weeks to become effective.

Other viruses and colds are often mistaken for flu. Additionally the injection site soreness, fatigue and achiness that some people experience after receiving the vaccine is not flu — it is the body doing a great job of mounting an immune response to protect you from the flu. These side effects are mild compared to a flu experience.

The CDC recommends everyone over six months of age get the flu shot. Flu shots are available in local doctor’s offices, pharmacies and at the health department. The health department has flu vaccine available for the uninsured.

Also, don’t let a fear of needles stop you from getting a flu vaccine. Flu mist is available for those from 2-49 years old. No needle is involved and it offers great flu protection.

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