Q13 FOX Season of Giving

Healthy Living: Doctors say it’s time for the flu shot

Last year's flu season was the worst in years, taking the  lives of an estimated 80,000 people according to the Centers for Disease Control.

This year, doctors are once again encouraging anyone older that 6-years-old to get vaccinated, saying the flu shot is the best defense against getting sick.  Severe reactions to the vaccine are rare and experts say people who are allergic to eggs and have chronic illnesses should talk to their doctor before getting the vaccine.

This year, the flu mist is available, but it's not for everyone.  Doctors say the mist contains the live virus, but cannot cause the flu.  Reactions with the mist are more common and can include a sore throat, headache and nausea.

Doctors say the most common misconception about the flu vaccine is that it causes the flu.  That is not true!  The flu vaccine does not contain the live flu virus and cannot cause the flu.  Severe allergic reactions to the flu vaccine are rare, according to doctors, and typically happen within minutes or hours of getting the shot.  If those reactions happen, experts say they are treatable.

Also remember, people who get the flu vaccine can still get the flu, but doctors  say the symptoms will likely be lessened because of the vaccines added protection.

Infants, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune symptoms are  most at risk for complications from the flu.

This year, marks 100 years since a deadly flu pandemic in  the United States.  In 1918, the flu killed an estimated 500,00 people in the U.S. and millions more worldwide.  For the last 70 years, the Centers for Disease Control have relied on science and research in collaboration with doctors to raise awareness about the flu.

If you have concerns or questions about the flu, talk to your physician.

To learn more about the flu and the flu vaccine, visit the Centers for Disease Control