You can walk into any pharmacy these days and get a flu shot. It’s worth it, says Dr. Sheila Nolan, to avoid the agony of the flu.
“You’re really on your back flat. You have high fever, body aches, muscles aches, severe headaches,” Dr. Shelia Nolan.
How effective is the vaccine?
“The vaccine prevents illness about 80 percent of the time for those under 60 and about half the time for those over 65. But even if you do get sick after the vaccine, your symptoms are usually milder,” Nolan said.
For the broadest protection, Consumer Reports says consider the new quadrivalent vaccine over the standard trivalent type.
“The trivalent vaccine protects against three strains of the flu virus, and the quadrivalent vaccine protects against four. But if that one isn’t covered under your insurance policy, you’ll have to pay about $38 out of pocket,” Dr. Orly Avitzur.
For children ages 2 to 8, the FluMist spray is better protection than a shot. They may need a second dose a month later.
“The nasal spray is made of a weakened but still active live virus. So it shouldn’t be given to people with a poor immune system or their caregivers, pregnant women, or anyone over 50,” Avitzur said.
If you do feel the flu coming on, ask your doctor within the first day or two about prescribing anti-viral drugs. Consumer Reports says if taken early, drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza can ease flu symptoms and reduce complications like pneumonia.