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A nursing student gives a girl a flu shot.
If the commercials you've been hearing over and over again aren't enough to let you know, then let us remind you: it's that time again. Have you gotten your flu shot? The one for this year?
KPCC spoke with Dr. Monica Soni, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at USC, about who should get vaccinated and why you should do it now.
Who should get the vaccine?
"Anybody over the age of 6 months should be getting the flu vaccine," Soni said. "The reason why is there's a lot of morbidity and, worse, mortality from getting the flu itself."
C'mon, I'm healthy. I got the flu last year. I don't need the flu shot.
You might be right. Well, kind of.
"People who are most at risk of having serious illness from the flu are young children and then the elderly, people who are over 65," Soni said.
"Of course, we're all around young children, we're all around elderly people," Soni said. "So, if we get sick and we spread it to them, then we're actually putting them at risk. For the benefit of the community, we recommend that everybody get the shot."
All right, fine. Which one should I get?
Soni recommends any flu shot.
"Truly, all of them will work equally to protect you — the trivalent, which is the standard vaccine, or the new quadrivalent," she said. "It's just essentially how many strains are inside that vaccine. The CDC also doesn't recommend one vaccine over another. It's just important to make sure that you get one every year."
What about the flu mist?
This might be good for squirmy kids who won't tolerate the shot and are ready to kick you in the shin and run away if you try giving it to them.
But, it's also great for people who have egg allergies, according to Soni.
Any sense of what kind of a flu season we might have?
Soni said it's not clear yet.
"I think we learned a lot from last year. It was an early flu season and actually more severe than we had seen in the past," she said. "So, I think nobody should take any chances and make sure they're doing the right thing early on."
Trying to find a walk-in clinic near you? Check out the HealthMap Vaccine Finder.