Never too early to get your flu shot, says health unit

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Minister of Health Kim Wilson, along with the Head of Public Service, Dr. Derrick Binns, the Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. Jennifer Attride-Stirling and Ministry of Health staff received flu shots as part of the Ministry of Health's "Take the Lead" initiative, which allows the Ministry of Health staff to take the lead in ensuring its healthcare workforce is protected against the flu to prevent spread to patients and minimize sick leave. "I'm over 50 and I have asthma, so it really took me off my game", said O'Neal, a 54-year-old radio personality from Orlando, Florida.

However, the nasal flu vaccine, FluMist, is made from weakened but live virus cells and may cause flu-like symptoms. "We should employ that vaccine as widely as possible, particularly for those who are susceptible to heart failure", she said.

Several groups have a higher risk for flu-related complications: children under 5, adults over 65, pregnant women, and American Indians and Alaska Natives.

"These are the people that may ultimately get hospitalized", Han said.

Public health officials in East Sussex are urging people to get protected before winter kicks in. "We've already had the death of a young child this year".

One is that the flu vaccine can give you the flu.

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"I think some parents feel like that's an easier way to get the flu vaccine", Dr. Bhargava says. There are more flu shot clinics planned in the spring semester. The flu vaccine is a safe and effective means of protecting yourself and your family.

"The flu vaccine is not flawless", Basta said.

The virus typically grows active in colder months, and the Department of Health reminded the public of the importance of having a flu shot this season. VaccineFinder.org offers a searchable database of vaccination locations. "The single best way to improve influenza-related outcomes is to vaccinate people".

And think of those around you.

"Keep in mind the people that do have [allergies to the shot] should receive the flu vaccine in their doctor's office and not a drug store, that way they can be monitored for any reactions", said Kearah Cenotti, medical assistant at Kaiser Permanente Martinez Medical Center.

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