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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that children and adults should get the shot, instead of the nasal spray, this flu season. The nasal spray vaccine did not provide significant protection in previous flu seasons, according to the CDC.

“The injectable flu vaccine has always been the best way to protect yourself and your children from the flu,” says Diane L. George, D.O., chief medical officer, Henry Ford Medical Group Primary Care. “A quick shot in the arm is better than suffering from the flu.”

Influenza, or the “flu,” is a serious, contagious virus that infects the nose, throat and lung. Symptoms include fever and chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue. The flu can cause complications such as pneumonia, ear and throat infections, and worsening asthma, congestive heart failure, and diabetes. Even healthy people can contract the flu and become sick enough to miss significant days of school or work. The flu can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.

WHAT SHOTS ARE OFFERED THIS YEAR? Henry Ford offers the “quadrivalent” flu vaccine, which provides protection from four influenza viruses: two influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) and two influenza B viruses. The quadrivalent flu vaccine offers more coverage than the traditional “trivalent” flu vaccine, which protects against two influenza A viruses and one influenza B virus.

WHO SHOULD GET A FLU SHOT? Anyone six months of age and older should get a flu shot. Vaccination with the quadrivalent vaccine is especially important for people at higher risk for infection. These include healthcare workers and caregivers of children younger than six months, adults ages 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease, asthma, diabetes, or a weakened immune system.

WHEN SHOULD I GET IT? Now is the time! The flu vaccine takes up to two weeks for benefits to develop, and then offers protection all season long. The flu season typically runs from October to May, and commonly peaks between December and February.

WHAT DOES IT COST? Many health plans cover the flu shot. The self-pay price at Henry Ford locations is $25 for the Quadrivalent, and $40 for the High Dose Trivalent. You can’t afford NOT to get the flu shot, when you consider the potential costs of medical care and lost days of work.

WHERE CAN I GO? Walk-in flu shots for adults and children are conveniently offered at many Henry Ford sites without an appointment during normal business hours.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE THE FLU? Call the Henry Ford Cold & Flu Hotline, staffed 24/7 by registered nurses who offer complimentary medical advice, self-care tips and guidance about if and when you should see a doctor. Call (313) 916-0FLU (916-0358).

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