Maybe you’ve already gotten your flu shot this season or it’s still on your to-do list. Either way, Dr. Mikhail “Doctor Mike” Varshavski, a board-certified family medicine physician, joins Yahoo Life to break down everything you need to know about this year’s flu shot.
Debunking the biggest myth surrounding the flu shot, Doctor Mike reassures that people cannot get the flu from the vaccine itself. Even though you may feel weary afterward, he explains, “that’s your immune system kicking into high gear and creating those antibodies that will fight off the flu virus.”
How exactly does the flu shot work?
Doctor Mike explains that by getting vaccinated, you’re actually receiving an inactivated version of the influenza virus in order for your body to create its immune defense. Not only does this decrease the likelihood of you getting the flu for this season and next, but it also means you will have fewer complications if you are to get the flu.
“The flu shot will decrease the likelihood of you getting the flu about 40 to 60 percent of the time, depending on how good we are at predicting this year’s flu strain,” says Doctor Mike.
When should you get it?
Flu season typically starts in September and can run as late as the early summer months. However, it’s crucial to be proactive and get vaccinated “before the flu season kicks into high gear.”
Doctor Mike advises us to get the flu shot in September or October because our bodies need at least two to three weeks to start developing the antibodies that will protect us from the flu.
Who should get it?
Doctor Mike suggests that everyone over the age of six months should be vaccinated. However, there are some exceptions for people who have life-threatening allergies to ingredients in the flu shot.
Additionally, he warns that some groups are more at risk of developing the flu or complications from the vaccine than others. These groups include people who are immunocompromised, pregnant, children under 6 months old and people over the age of 65.
Where can you get it?
Fortunately, getting the flu shot has become more convenient because you can get vaccinated at your local pharmacy, hospital or primary care doctor’s office. However, because of COVID-19, Doctor Mike suggests contacting your primary care provider’s office to figure out the safest way possible to get vaccinated.
Video produced by Jenny Miller
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