Local doctors advising patients to get flu shots now
Physicians say some should consider a pneumonia shot as well.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Traditionally flu season in Kentucky is from around November to March, but Louisville area doctors say, for the best protection, now is the time to take the needle.
It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to work, so doctors are urging patients to get it now before the flu hits.
“If you wait until it's going around, you get your flu shot on Wednesday, a week later you get the flu," said Dr. Ann Roberts, a physician with Norton Healthcare. "The flu shot didn't give you the flu ... you just didn't get your flu shot in time."
Dr. Roberts says she has not seen any flu cases yet. She says those over the age of 65, those who are pregnant or have conditions such as diabetes that weaken the immune system are most vulnerable.
But Dr. Roberts is telling all her patients it's better safe than sorry.
“I urge everybody. The flu is no fun. If you have it, you feel like you've been run over by a truck,” she said.
And this year, the nasal spray is not an option. The Centers for Disease Control no longer recommends it.
“They have done the studies and found the immune response is not as good,” Dr. Roberts said.
But the flu is not the only concern heading into fall.
As presidential candidate Hillary Clinton demonstrated, pneumonia is also a problem that requires an ounce of prevention
“This is one of those rare instances where politics and patient care can actually work together,” said Dr. Jesse Jenkins with Baptist Healthcare.
Dr. Jenkins says the pneumonia shot is normally very effective.
It's also recommended for those with weakened immune systems and especially for seniors.
“Individuals over 65, it's recommended that you get vaccinated against pneumonia no matter what,” he said.
Of course neither the flu nor the pneumonia vaccines are foolproof.
“That's still better than no chance of being protected, which the people who miss their shots have zero chance,” Dr. Roberts said.
Norton Healthcare says its Immediate Care Centers have seen 20 flu cases so far this year. A spokesperson says that's about normal.
The Metro Health Department says it will start getting reports on flu cases in Louisville and around the state in about three weeks.
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