Finding the right flu vaccine for you

Nasal and injection vaccinations available this season

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – With flu season approaching, it’s important to know how you can protect yourself from the potentially dangerous virus.

If you were to get to vaccination this fall, you should be protected through April. But with types of flu vaccinations available, and it’s important to know which vaccine can best protect you and your family.

Most healthy adults are eligible to get a standard shot for their vaccination. When looking for the type of vaccination to get, consider the new quadrivalent shot. The trivalent shot, which is the standard shot, protects you from three flu strains, but the quadrivalent shot protects from an additional influenza B virus strain that lingers around the end of the flu season.

A nasal spray is recommended for children between 2 and 8 years-old. This vaccine called FluMist protects children better than a regular shot. The only downside is that a second dose may be necessary a month later.

One physician told 22News your personal health history could help determine what vaccine is best for you.

“There are many different vaccines and there are a series of recommendations depending on people’s health status,” says Ira Hefland, a physician at Family Care Medical Center in Springfield. “For most people, most adults certainly, a simple injection vaccination is the indicated form.”

Dr. Helfand says every person 6 months and older should get the flu shot each season.

“It’s particularly important if you have respiratory illnesses, if you have heart disease, if you have other debilitating illnesses. But really, everybody including healthy young adults and healthy children should be vaccinated against the flu every year.”

Here are tips when it comes to looking for what shot is best for you:

  • Consider the new quadrivalent shot
  • Avoid high-dose vaccines, since they usually lead to side effects such as headaches and fever
  • Skip antibiotics for the flu. Influenza antibiotics protect you from a bacteria, but the flu is a virus
  • You can get vaccinated anywhere that is convenient for you, be it a doctor’s office, drugstore, or community center. All locations follow the same standards of cleanliness.

The flu vaccine prevents the illness 80% of the time in adults under 60 years old, and half the time for adults 65 and older.

Dr. Helfand told 22News the flu vaccine is available now, earlier than other years it has been offered.

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