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Flu shot: A little prick beats getting sick

Flu season is approaching and it’s time for folks who want to protect themselves to get flu shots.

The flu is much more serious than some people realize, said Steve Pellito, national director of Maxim Health Systems, which provides flu shots at locations throughout King County and surrounding areas.

“It’s not your average cold or runny nose. The flu actually knocks you out,” Pellito said, adding that for some, flu can be deadly.

Each year, 60 million people are infected with the flu, Pellito said. It kills almost as many Americans as breast cancer and kills two to three times more Americans than HIV or AIDS, he said.

Several Federal Way pharmacies offer flu shot drop-in clinics beginning in October. The cost at most clinics is about $30, although some insurance companies cover the cost. Flu season is generally from January to March, although people can be vaccinated beginning in October.

Elderly people, young children, pregnant women, immune-compromised people and anyone who doesn’t want to get the flu should get a shot, Pellito said.

It is important to get a flu shot every year because each year the vaccine changes, Pellito said.

Flu shots protect against the three most common strains of the virus that are predicted to circulate that year. The World Health Organization monitors what strains are circulating in the Southern Hemisphere and uses that information to make vaccines for the Northern Hemisphere, Pellito said.

“This year the vaccine got a complete overhaul. All three strains are brand new,” he said.

The flu vaccine protects against influenza, a respiratory flu that causes coughing and cold-like symptoms. It doesn’t protect against the stomach flu, which causes vomiting and nausea. The flu shot also will not protect against a possible outbreak of the pandemic flu.

The shot feels like a slight prick and most people report that it is not painful, Pellito said.

“The few seconds it takes to receive the injection is nothing compared to the week or more the illness brings on,” he said.

People who are allergic to eggs or who are currently experiencing flu-like symptoms should not get a flu shot.

For a list of upcoming flu clinics, visit www.findaflushot.com/.

Contact Margo Hoffman: mhoffman@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

Flu shots will be offered at the following Federal Way locations next week:

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 1, TOP Food & Drug, 31515 20th Ave. S.

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 2, Costco, 35100 Enchanted Parkway South

Contact Margo Hoffman: mhoffman@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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