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Summer Ends - and Flu Shot Season Begins

Some doctors recommend getting your shot now, and now, you have more and more choices to fit your needs. The vaccine is already available at many clinics, and this year, health officials are hoping the flu shot provides more protection that ever. Experts recommend asking your doctor which version of the vaccine is right for you and your family.
The unofficial end of summer has passed - so does that mean we're into... flu season?

Some doctors recommend getting your shot now - and you have more and more choices to fit your needs.

The vaccine is already available at many clinics, and this year, health officials are hoping the flu shot provides more protection that ever.

It may be September... and feel like July... but:  "The flu knows no calendar. Last year, it hit early, and it hit hard, and it lasted all the way until the warm weather. So it isn't too early to get a flu shot. Just get one," said Jodi Wise, administrator of the Vigo County Health Department."

And for this year's flu shot, you can shop around.

"Over the last 30 years we've had the same kind of flu vaccine. It's sort of a one shot. And now there are some new options," said Wise.
   
A new vaccine is on the market called quadrivalent, which covers four strains of the flu instead of the typical three - offering one more line of defense against the disease.

There's also a nasal spray that covers those four flu strands, but it too has it's limitations: you must be in good health, not pregnant and between certain ages.

"It's a live virus. The flu shots that we receive in our arm, they're what we call a deactivated virus, which means you cannot get sick from them. But someone that's healthy, 2 - 49 years old, doesn't have a compromised immune system, they can get the flu mist," Wise explains.

Figuring out the flu isn't an exact science.

The CDC and the World Health Organization study what types were out there last season, and look at what's popping up in the southern hemisphere -- where winter has already come and gone.

And though the four-strand shot is only in limited production this year, officials are optimistic these options will make a difference.

"Our recommendation is please get your flu vaccine. It's one of the most preventable ways to keep you from getting the flu besides washing your hands," said Wise. "There isn't any reason for anyone not to get a flu shot."

There's also a new vaccine that is not made with eggs, which once prevented people with allergies from getting the shot.

Experts recommend asking your doctor which version of the vaccine is right for you and your family.
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