HealthBeat

It's Not Too Late For Flu Vaccine

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - We are in the middle of flu season with 24 states reporting regional or widespread activity. 

Experts say if you haven't gotten your flu shot, now is the time. 

Lindsey O'Brien says she and her family receive a flu shot every year.

"I used to never get the flu shot and then I had 3 babies in 3 years and so when I was pregnant I always got the flu shot at the recommendation of my doctor," O'Brien said. 

O'Brien's family was vaccinated in October. She says the stomach bug and the common cold have made their mark, but they've managed to avoid the flu.

"The vaccine is effective. In fact we now know that even though it may not completely prevent the flu, it can contribute to a lesser severe case of the flu," Dr. Wendell Hoffman said. 

Hoffman says it's not too late to get your shot since the flu season lasts until about May 1st. 

Peak season for the flu is expected to begin within the next two months so doctors say the sooner you get vaccinated the better. 

"The flu is really beginning to ramp up. I mean we're seeing it certainly in our state, progressively increasing currently at what we call a regional status. The only other status higher than that is widespread," Hoffman said.

He says when it comes to getting vaccinated to keep in mind you're not only protecting yourself from a potentially deadly illness, but others you come into contact with. 

"Every one of us who gets the flu vaccine actually contributes to what we call herd immunity. Which is the phenomenon where the more of us who are covered and develop antibody, we better protect the population," Hoffman said. 

Especially those at high risk, such as elderly, children, pregnant women, and the immunocompromised. 

"There's a lot of reason for people to get the flu vaccines. We hope that we can convince everybody to get their flu shot. If you're above 6 months of age, then you should get your flu shot," Hoffman said.

"It can't hurt so, you might as well get it done. Especially when little ones are involved," O'brien said.  

To find out about the what strain doctors are seeing the most currently, click here.


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