SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Holiday season is also flu season, and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), up to 20 percent of Americans come down with the flu every year in this country. That's where a flu shot comes in. But, which one is right for you?
The flu sends 200,000 Americans to the hospital every year in this country, according to the CDC. And there's typically no warning before onset of the flu. Dr. Lara Otaigbe, a physician at Southern Medical Care in Hattiesburg, Mississippi explained, "You are feeling fine then two hours later you have all the symptoms."
Symptoms include high fever, headache, cough and body aches. Prevention, in the form of a flu shot, is highly recommended for anyone over 6 months of age. But which one is right for you? The one protecting against three strains or four. A four strain flu vaccine may cost a little more and be less available.
Steven Bienvenue, M.D., LSU Health Shreveport Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics told us, "Probably the most important thing is not whether we get a three valent, or a three vaccine, three antigen vaccine, but that we get an influenza vaccine."
There's also a flu nasal spray that covers four strains. That's typically for healthy people between 2 and 49 years of age and not for pregnant women.
But young and middle-age adults continue to skip the flu shot according to the CDC. If it's not on your 'to do list,' Dr. Otaigbe offers this incentive, "If you get the flu you feel bad for about two or three days sometimes more, that is time spent off work, so that is lost of income. And Tamiflu costs around $130 so it's very expensive to get the flu, much cheaper to get the shot."
As for when it's time to see a doctor, watch for these symptoms: Difficulty breathing or chest pain, persistent fever, severe headache or symptoms for 5 days. And you're urged to take such an illness seriously.