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Health officials say now is the time to get the flu shot

Lance McCord

It’s time to get a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone over the age of six months get the vaccine by the end of October. Central New York health officials are emphasizing there are no reasons to avoid the shot.

Only about one in three upstate New York adults get their flu shot according to BlueCross BlueShield. Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta said that is unfortunate.

"A lot of times the psyche is, it will not happen to us," Gupta said. "And especially if you are young and healthy. People tend to think so. Most of our children and older population tend to get it, the people in the middle think it’s not going to happen.”

Among the reasons people do not get the shot, a belief is if you do, you will get the flu. Gupta said, that just isn’t true.

"You never get flu from them," Gupta said. "You can get side effects, body aches low grade fever, but that is expected. But these are side effects, not the flu."

Instead, she said when people avoid the shot, especially young healthy people, they can end up spreading it to more vulnterable populations.

"You can be healthy, and you may not get that sick," Gupta said. "But if you see your grandma, or someone else, or a child, you may make them sicker.”

There are 2.5 million flu cases across the U.S. every year that result in hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths. Flu vaccines are widely available at pharmacies, doctors offices and other locations. According to statistics, every 100 people with the flu will spread it to 127 other people.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.