Flu Shots Still an Option for Fighting the Season’s Ailments

Massachusetts is among twenty-nine states already reporting widespread flu outbreaks. And in comparison to last year, not only is it hitting earlier — it’s also hitting harder.

Many years symptoms like aches, pains, sniffles and fevers don’t appear in full force until after the holiday season. The chief of infectious diseases at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield — Daniel Skiest — says it’s always a good idea to get a flu shot. But he says some years the dose is more equipped to protect people than others.

“Now there’s not always a perfect match in terms of the flu strains that are circulating and the flu strains that are in the vaccine. But what we can tell right now is there’s a fairly good match between this year’s vaccine and the flu strains circulating.”

Skiest says some patients skip the immunization because they’re worried about getting sick from it. But he says that’s not possible.

“Many people say that right after they get the flu shot they get the flu but what they probably got what happened is they coincidentally got a cold. You can get a little achy. It’s a lot better having a little achiness then getting the actual flu, which is a lot worse than just a regular cold, you will feel terrible and probably be in bed for five days.”

Skiest says it’s not too late to get vaccinated. He says flu shots take two weeks to fully kick in.