Local doctor encourages flu shots as temperatures drop

Every winter there it is-- the flu-- taking people down left and right, but there is something you can do. 

“Everyone should really get the flu shot, anyone who is 6 months of age or older is eligible to get the flu shot. And everyone should for their own benefit as well as the benefit of those around them,” says Dr. Charles Bregier with Novant Health. 
Dr. Bregier says the flu shot is your single best option to protect yourself. 

“It basically stimulates an immune response in your system to build antibodies to those flu strains and it's typically four strains as it is this year,” he said. 

Four different strains-- the strains medical researchers believe are the most likely to make us sick. What won't make us sick? 

“The flu vaccine does not make you sick. The flu vaccine is made from inactivated flu virus so it's basically dead virus particles so there's no way something that's not alive or active can make you sick,” says Dr. Bregier.

What if you hear someone say they got the flu from the shot? Doctor Bregier says it’s just not possible. 

“There's people who might have gone out for a flu shot and went to the grocery store to get a gallon of milk that same day and the grocery cart handle or the shelf or something was dirty, they touched it, they touched their nose or mouth and they got something like the flu from that.” 

What about statistics that say the shot may only be 10 percent effective this year? There's more to it-- it's 10 percent effective against one of the strains in the shot.  

“So you're still going to get good protection from the other A strain and the two B strains in the flu vaccine. You should go ahead and get it,” says Dr. Bregier.

If you still have doubts, he urges you to think of those who cannot protect themselves. infants, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. 

The doctor also recommends all children get the shot because little ones are more vulnerable and the flu has already proven deadly this winter.

“You don't just protect yourself, but people around you, family members, coworkers, etc. who may have underlying problems like asthma, or lung disease or heart disease, diabetes, and actually can be at much greater risk for getting sick from complications of the flu,” he says.