SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - You may have noticed the flu shot reminders at your workplace or your local pharmacy.
Vaccinations are available, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says now's the time to get yours. Doctors say it's well worth the pinch to stay healthy this season. But for those in your family who are a little uncomfortable with needles, the live weakened flu vaccine in nasal spray form may be your best option.
If you got your flu shot tomorrow, you actually wouldn't be fully vaccinated for a few weeks. It's designed to awaken and boost your immune system; introduce your body to the virus and trigger your immune system to make its own antibodies that will protect you all season.
As for when to get the flu shot, health experts say the sooner the better. There's no telling when the peak of flu season will happen and it's important to protect yourself and those around you.
"Most people think of the flu as a few days of illness, achy, fever, time in bed. But there are people around us who are compromised, have other chronic illnesses, are very young," said Carol Wojnarowski, manager of Infection Control at Holyoke Medical Center.
One college freshman told 22news her new campus environment is motivation enough to get the flu shot.
"I try to get it every year but I'm not going to lie there are some years that I do skip. Then I use a lot of hand sanitizer and try to keep myself safe. I've been noticing a lot of people are getting sick so I should probably go get on that," said Megan St. Pierre.
As for the cost of the flu shot-- it varies among businesses and pharmacies. Bring your insurance card because the shot may be covered under preventive measures, and might cost you nothing!
But health care experts encourage you to get the shot where it's convenient, rather than shopping around.