How to choose the right flu shot

Itâ??s mid-August, and we are already getting bombarded with promotions to â??Get your Flu Shotâ??. Dr. Justin Puckett from Complete Family Medicine stopped by the set of Good Morning Heartland to talk more about flu shots. WATCH VIDEO ABOVE to learn more.

Question: What do you think about getting your flu vaccine this early?

Answer: It isnâ??t so much the timing, as choosing the right flu shot. At this time, the standard 3 strain vaccine is available from one manufacturer. While this flu shot is a valid flu shot. There are lots of other choices out there, and you really want to be careful, and consult with your doctor, as a flu shot isnâ??t a flu shot anymore.

As far as the timing, recent evidence has shown that flu shots last a lot longer than previously thought. The CDC recommends getting your flu vaccine as soon as your desired vaccine formula is available. The shot takes around 14 days to really get into effect, and it never really becomes too late in the year to get one, as long as you get it 14 days before your exposure.

Question: There is a smorgasbord of options to the flu vaccine, tell us a little about the different options.

Answer: For the second year in decades, Americans will have a wide range of vaccine options this

flu season. Since the 1940s, health-conscious citizens have pretty much had only one way of getting immunized: a shot containing three strains of the influenza virus. In recent years, a nasal spray and higher-dose vaccines were added. We also now have the quadrivalent flu vaccine, which provides additional protection from a fourth flu strain. So this flu season, there are seven ways to get immunized against influenza, so thereâ??s a vaccine for practically everyone. Most offices or pharmacies wonâ??t likely carry all seven, but with a little research, you can probably find out where your vaccine of choice is given.

Question: Tell us more about the different types and who should get which one?

Answer: Standard three-strain shot:

The tried-and-true flu shot that protects against three strains of influenza will still be available and is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. This yearâ??s version includes influenza strains H1N1 and H3N2, and an influenza B virus.

Four-strain shot:

For the second year, a flu shot will protect against four types of influenza â?? two from the so-called A class of viruses and two from the B class. There are only two types of B-class influenza, which primarily causes illness in young children, so the new shot will offer protection against both. "This vaccine will give you greater likelihood of protection against what you might encounter during the flu season," says Dr. Justin Puckett, a local family physician in Kirksville. Eventually, this vaccine, called the quadrivalent shot, will replace the three-strain version, but probably not for a few more years.

While the quadrivalent vaccine does provide more protection against flu than the three-strain shot, doctors say the three-strain version is still effective and worth getting if your provider doesnâ??t stock the quadrivalent vaccine. Be prepared to pay more for the newer shot, however. ã??But remember, flu shots are covered 100 percent as a preventative service under most health insurance plans.

Nasal spray:

Called Flu Mist Quadrivalent, this vaccine is squirted into the nasal passages and is most commonly used to immunize young children, who may be squeamish about needles. This year, the spray will protect against four strains of influenza, just like the quadrivalent shot. ã??The spray is indicated for those ages 2-49.

Egg-free vaccine:

About 4% of children and 1% of adults are allergic to eggs, and these individuals have generally skipped their yearly flu shots, since the influenza virus in the vaccines is grown in chicken eggs and carries traces of the egg proteins. But this year they will be able to get Flublok, the first egg-free flu vaccine, which contains influenza proteins from three flu strains cultured in caterpillar cells. ã??It is called Flu-blok and is available for those 18-49.

High-dose vaccines

: Two shots will contain higher amounts of the influenza proteins that can jump-start flagging immune systems. Designed for those ages 65 and up, these shots can protect the elderly from dangerous complications resulting from influenza, which can include pneumonia and even death.

Needle-free: Well, almost. Fluzone Intradermal actually contains a panel of micro-needles rather than a single needle, and itâ??s the vaccine to choose if youâ??re at all nervous about getting stuck. This yearâ??s version will protect against three strains of influenza.

Question: So who should get a flu shot this year, and who shouldnâ??t?

Answer: Essentially every man woman and child over the age of 6 months should get vaccinated. ã??If you are allergic to eggs, you want to avoid all but flublok. If you have a history of Guillian Barre Syndrome, you need to not get the vaccine. ã??Also if you are very ill, you should hold off until you get well. ã??But if you just have a cold or other minor illness, donâ??t put it off!

Question: Tell us about our risk of getting the Flu from a Flu Shot?

Answer: It is impossible to get full blown flu from the vaccine. When you talk to people about their symptoms, they almost always complain of GI effects, which is the wrong flu. ã??With the dead viruses, there is very little reaction. ã??In the live viruses, you might notice a bit more of congestion.

Complete Family Medicine

1611 S. Baltimore

Kirksville, MO. 63501