Preventing the flu

Which flu shot is right for you?

Seasonal influenza is a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and flu infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick and spread it to others.

"The seasonal flu season in Kentucky and Indiana can begin as early as October and last as late as May," said Soraya P. Nasraty, M.D., MMM, family medicine physician. "During this time, flu viruses are circulating among communities. The best way to reduce the chance of getting and spreading the flu virus is to get a flu shot."

Children and adults should get a flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available. To make it easier and less scary for those who are afraid of needles, new vaccination methods are available. Just about everyone is a candidate for at least one type of flu vaccine.

Each type of vaccine can cause mild side effects, from injection site pain to nausea, runny nose and sneezing, but most last only a day or two.

"When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through our community." Dr. Nasraty said. "Do your part to stay well and help others stay well."

–Jennifer Reynolds

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu shot. Most at risk are young children, the elderly and people in poor health. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective, so the CDC recommends getting the shot in October, well before peak flu season hits in January and February. Get Healthy’s Jackie Hays talks with Dr. Nasraty about why you should get vaccinated.

The CDC urges you to take the following actions to protect yourself and others from influenza (the flu):

  • Take time to get a flu vaccine.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
  • Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

Stop by a Norton Immediate Care Center to get the traditional flu shot. To find the center closest to you, call (502) 629-4444. To discuss other flu shot options, speak with your primary care physician. If you need a physician, visit NortonHealthcare.com/PrimaryCare.

About our expert
Soraya P. Nasraty, M.D., MMM, is medical director for Norton Immediate Care Centers.