Doctors advise getting a flu shot - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Doctors advise getting a flu shot

LAWTON, Okla._It's that time of year again...flu season. Many people go back and forth over whether or not to vaccinate themselves and their loved ones, but doctors say the choice is simple, get the shot.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, getting the seasonal flu vaccine cuts your risk of getting the flu by at least 70 percent. This month alone, three Oklahomans have been hospitalized with the flu. Last year, the flu killed 114 people throughout the state and left more than 2,000 people hospitalized. However, some of those people were vaccinated and still got sick.

As a nurse practitioner explained, the flu virus was able to mutate quickly last year. It had already changed once the vaccine was produced, leaving the public vulnerable to the specific strand known as AH3. However, that should not discourage you from continuing to get your flu shot each year.

"It was awful, then it turned to pneumonia…I was off work 12 weeks," explained Harriet Ritter, a newly vaccinated patient.

Ritter says since that episode a couple of years ago, she makes sure to get the flu shot  each year, which is why she came to the Comanche County Health Department.

"I'm a firm believer in it, especially past the age of 60," Ritter said.

"(The) flu can be deadly. You want to prevent it, especially in elderly and young children,” Kay Ray, a nurse at the health department, explained.

Nurse Ray administered Ritter's shot and says although three people have already been hospitalized for the flu this month, we're just getting started.

"The peak is usually in January and February when we see the biggest flu season,” Ray explained.

Nurse practitioner Nancy Beit says it will take until then to get the tests results from this year's flu strain to see how much protection this vaccine will provide. Although no vaccine is perfect, Beit says it's still worth getting.

"Even though you may have gotten the flu, it protected you from several types of the flu that you didn't get that could of made your disease or sickness so much worse or even caused you to die," Beit said.

The added protection makes a little poke well worth the trip to the doctor.

There are various types of the vaccine, some of which contain the live virus. That particular vaccine is not highly recommended to people over the age of 49 or for children. Make sure you know what kind of vaccine you are getting, and don't be afraid to ask your doctor or nurse to explain it to you.

You can get a flu shot at the Comanche County Health Department from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The cost varies depending upon your insurance, however, if you don't have insurance it is a flat rate of $25.

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