How to protect your family against the flu - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

How to protect your family against the flu

Flu shot (Source: File) Flu shot (Source: File)
(WWBT) -

If you haven't gotten the flu yet, count yourself as lucky. Flu season is underway right now, and with kids back to school, expect the numbers to ramp up in the next few months. We went to the doctor's office to learn a little bit more about how to help you protect your family.

Start with the flu shot. It takes two weeks to get full protection from your shot, so the sooner you get it, the better.

Medical professionals say it's worth your time and that needle prick.

"The flu last year actually was very well covered by the flu shot," said Noravy Briere, a certified nurse practitioner with Kid Med.

This year, the CDC says the flu shot is made up of four strands, offering protection against H1N1, H3N2, and strands of Flu B.

"They usually take studies from the Southern Hemisphere to see what's been ramping up now, and then they're going to figure out what they need to do for us in the Northern Hemisphere," said Briere.

There's a higher dose shot for older people and doctors say to avoid the flu mist because it isn't as effective.

You can also track the "flu near you" on this website. You can track the activity as reported to the CDC.

There were 63 cases reported in Virginia this week.

"It's definitely here," said Briere.

The CDC data shows that right now, it's not possible to predict what flu season will look like. While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season vary from one year to another.

However, they say everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine every year, and it's best to get it by
the end of October.

The CDC recommends vaccinations continue throughout the flu season, even in January or later.

Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

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