It’s almost that time of year… flu season.  Flu shots have arrived and are already in many pharmacies and doctor’s offices, meaning you can already get vaccinated before the flu hits this season.  There’s a wide array of influenza vaccine choices these days – more than ever.  

The nasal spray is approved for healthy, non-pregnant people between the ages of 2 and 49 years old. The shot is approved for most people 6 months and older. There’s also a special high-dose shot for folks 65+ that gives better protection by improving immune response.  This year there are even 2 types of flu vaccines aren’t grown in chicken eggs- allowing even people with egg allergies to be vaccinated this year. 

In past years, flu vaccines have always provided protection against 3 flu strains, 2 influenza A strains and one influenza B strain.  For the first time this year, 4 of the licensed flu vaccines will protect against 4 different flu strains-  two “A” strains and 2 “B” strains.  This year’s (three-strain) vaccines will contain the pandemic and H3N2 strains as well as a brand-new B strain. 

The flu season in the Southern Hemisphere peaked in mid-July and is winding down. Central America, the Caribbean, South America and South Africa and Australia and New Zealand have all been seeing influenza strains that are included in this year’s US vaccines- meaning that this year’s vaccines will likely be a good match for what starts going around when flu season gets going. 

The flu spreads from person to person through droplets made when people sick with flu cough, sneeze or talk. It can give you a fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, and make you really tired among other things. That’s why it’s so important to get vaccinated every year to protect yourself and those around you from this bad bug.