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Doctors say get your flu shot, the sooner the better

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

The temperatures are dropping outside which means flu season is right around the corner. There have already been several reported cases of the flu, and News 3 is on your side with how to protect yourself from this year's flu bug.

Health officials say there are not specific dates for the flu season anymore, but come December doctors say you should be fully vaccinated, and the sooner you get it the better.

"In order for you to have immunity to the flu, you need to get your flu vaccination and you need to factor in the fact that it takes 2 weeks normally to build immunity," said Pamela Fair at the Columbus Health Department.

The vaccine this year protects against more strains than before.

"The flu vaccine used to have 3 strains of the vaccine. Now, we've refined our technique and it gives us protection against 4 different strains. So we have a much higher possibility of getting it right, and getting more protection against the flu," said Dr. Ritu Chandra.

If you decided you do not want the shot or wait until flu season is fully underway, doctors say there could be some consequences.

"A typical patient with the flu has a high grade fever 103,104, coughing, runny nose, diarrhea, stomach ache, the body aches, you just feel awful," said Dr. Chandra.

For those of you who are needle shy, there is a spray option, but the health department said you should get screened before you get any flu vaccination.

"The nurse is going to sit and talk with you to find out what are your allergies. Are you allergic to certain things or components that could be found in the flu vaccination? Do you have certain medical conditions that can put you at risk or that make it more important for you to get that flu vaccination," said Pamela Fair.

Dr. Chandra warns against misconceptions about the vaccine.

"Some parents say the flu vaccine causes the flu and I tell them no I gave your child the polio vaccine did they get polio. We gave you measles vaccine, and then they understand it does not actually cause the flu it protects against the flu," said Dr. Chandra.

There are some differences in the shot and nasal spray. The spray does contain a small active dose of the flu but the shot does not contain an active dose.

Health officials say if you suffer from asthma, diabetes, or other conditions that could reduce your immune capacity, you should probably stick to the traditional shot.

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