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Six Things to Know About This Year’s Flu Shots

1. Just because you’re healthy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a flu shot.

Anyone can get the flu. In fact, you can pass it to other people even before you realize you have it. You can infect people starting a day before symptoms develop and up to seven days after. Getting vaccinated also protects people around you, including pregnant women, older people, people with chronic illnesses and others vulnerable to getting sick.

2. The shot won’t make you sick.

The virus in the flu shot is inactive. So if you feel sick afterward, it could be that you were already coming down with something that has similar symptoms or you caught the flu before the vaccine took full effect, which is about two weeks.

woman with thermometer

3. Even if you got a flu shot last year, you should get another one this year.

Flu viruses are constantly changing, and the vaccine changes to keep up. Also, your immune response declines over time, so an annual shot gives you the best protection.

4. You can get a flu shot even if you’re allergic to eggs.

People with an egg allergy used to be advised not to get the flu vaccine, because it contains a small amount of egg protein. Like last year, the amount of egg protein in this year's vaccine is so small that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s unlikely to cause a reaction.

5. Kids as young as six months can get this year's flu vaccine.

But it's important to know that some kids need two doses for it to work properly. If they’re age six months to eight years and had two doses any time in the past, they need only one dose this season. Children who haven’t had two doses in the past should get their first as soon as possible this season and their second more than 28 days later.

6. HealthEast won’t offer the FluMist nasal vaccine spray.

A panel that advises the CDC voted against use of the nasal spray, based on data showing it’s less effective than the shot.

Still have questions? Make sure you talk to your doctor.