Read the article, "What to expect when you get a flu shot."
Everett Clinic Director of flu services, Dr. Yuan-Po Tu contributed:
“Right now is prime time to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Yuan-Po Tu, who runs Flu Services at The Everett Clinic. “It takes a couple of weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection.”
Ditch the needle altogether if you want. The vaccination also comes in a nasal spray called FluMist.
Both options contain the flu virus but, no, neither of them will give you the flu. In the shot form, the virus is dead. It's alive in FluMist, but in a weakened state that can't reproduce at body temperature.
If you opt for the needle, you can choose between trivalent and quadrivalent — which have either three or four strains of the flu virus. These days, The Everett Clinic only carries quadrivalent shots.
“Most people don't know the difference and they don't ask,” Tu said. “But you might as well have the extra protection.”
If you have kids, swapping out a scary shot with FluMist might seem like a no-brainer.
“It's popular in our pediatric population, because who wants to get a shot, right?” Tu said.
Last season, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the nasal spray for children ages 2 to 8 years old. But this season, it expresses no preference. And in kids 8 and up, Tu says, “the flu shot is generally thought to be more protective and effective than FluMist.”
Still set on the sniff? You might have to look around. There have been some shipping delays from the manufacturer this year. (Tu says the Everett Clinic has it in stock now.)
If you're over 65, you qualify for a high-dose shot. These are shown to boost antibodies, but the jury's still out on whether they reduce hospitalizations and deaths.
And like all vaccinations, it's not just about you. A mild flu can become a severe case when passed on to someone more vulnerable.
“If you happen to cough, sneeze or run into your grandmother, you can make her really, really ill,” Tu said. “So there are two reasons to vaccinate: One, to decrease your chance of getting a flu. And two, to decrease your chance of passing it to your colleagues or your loved ones.”