SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With cooler weather comes flu season, and doctors say getting vaccinated is your best defense.
A local doctor says while it may seem early to get vaccinated, preparation is key.
If you’re planning on getting a flu shot this year, Dr. Santiago Lopez says now is a good time to do it. He says the CDC recommends everyone be vaccinated by Halloween.
“November, December, January here, in this hemisphere is the peak of the illness so that’s why we try to get everyone vaccinated before when we predict it’s going to peak,” Lopez said.
He says that recommendation is based on historical data, as well as what strains go into the vaccine.
Something that’s changed since last year is the effectiveness of the nasal spray– though he cautions pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems from getting the mist.
“In the last year, a lot of the data that comes from Canada show that the vaccine in the nose, the mist in the nose is actually as effective as the one in the muscle,” Lopez said.
He hopes not only for a mild flu season, but that everybody 6 months and older will make the choice to get vaccinated.
As far as side effects, Lopez says you may experience soreness at the injection site, or a runny nose from the nasal spray– and rarely a patient may experience fever and fatigue.
“You may or may not have a low grade fever. It’s because the vaccine is doing it’s job, the vaccine is doing what it has to do. It is prompting your immune system to develop an immune response, to when the real virus comes you can get protected,” Lopez said.
Doctors say because the flu strains are constantly changing it’s important to get vaccinated every year.
Lopez is putting his words into action, getting his flu shot after our interview to protect himself from the flu.
“Herd immunity. If we all receive the vaccinations, the number of circulating wild type virus of certain illness is going to be really minimum to mild. So if we’re all vaccinated we kind of protect each other,” Lopez said.
In addition to protecting the most vulnerable people, such as pregnant women and seniors from getting sick.
Lopez says depending on your age and health, your doctor can help you determine which vaccine is right for you.