Shot or nasal spray? Each year patients get to decide how they want to receive their flu vaccine, but doctors say that’s not the case this year.
“In years past we did offer a nasal spray as a live and activated virus option for getting the vaccine, unfortunately this year it hasn’t been shown to protect very well against the flu strain so it’s not recommended,” said Dr. Christina Cavanagh, a family medicine physician with Lee Health.
But the flu shot is highly recommended, especially to children and senior citizens. “Anyone over six months old should get the flu shot. We know that certain people it’s even more important for them to get the shot,” said Dr. Cavanagh.
Patients with chronic health conditions like diabetes, COPD, lung disease, and heart disease, are also strongly encouraged to get the flu vaccine as their immune systems aren’t as strong to fight off the flu. “We’re trying to prevent people from ending up in the hospital, or in the ICU, or dying from pneumonia or serious complications from the flu,” said Dr. Cavanagh.
Flu symptoms can last between three and five days, and include fever, cough, runny nose, body aches, and fatigue.
“We know that the flu shot cannot cause the flu. It’s an inactivated virus,” said Dr. Cavanagh. But the shot can protect patients from the severity of the flu if they catch the virus.
“The flu shot takes about two weeks to develop immunity, so if you’ve already been exposed to the flu at the time that you get the flu shot you will still get sick with the flu unfortunately because you haven’t had time for the immunity to develop,” said Dr. Cavanagh.
The peak of flu season is typically between December and January, which is why patients are encouraged to get their flu vaccine now to boost their immunity.
View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/
Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.