Health officials urge people to get flu vaccinations now

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ST. LOUIS – Though we just stepped into autumn and temperatures have not yet dropped very low, health experts express it is not too early to schedule a flu shot for yourself and your children.

SSM Health has free clinic is around the corner.

Medical professionals said it’s time now to take preventative measures against the flu, and people should not put off the vaccination.

Last year’s flu season ended with intense record-setting numbers of diagnosis.

“It’s certainly time. The CDC monitors influenza on a weekly basis,” said Dr. Fred Buckhold, an internist at SSM Health St.Louis University Hospital.

SSM Health is gearing up for a day of free shots for those nine and older to reduce risks for families October 12th.

“I’ve been reading it’s going to be a really bad flu season,” said Natalie Condon. “My mom is a nurse and she’s got to go get her shot. If they have to go get them I’m kind of like, I might as well just go get them too.”

Buckhold debunked some of the common myths surrounding the flu shot. One of them is that it causes the flu or severe sickness.

“Some people do get a reaction after the vaccine. It’s usually self-limited and lasts a day or two versus six or seven with the flu,” Buckhold said.

The CDC recommends vaccination by the end of October to allow time to build immunity against the virus.

Mothers in the area already have vaccination in mind.

“I think it’s best right now to make sure your immunity is building because you never know when the flu season will start,” said Jaqueline Payton.

Experts said it’s especially important for those at high risk for flu complications to schedule their vaccinations. Pregnant women, young children, and those 65 and up fall under the category.

Buckhold said people should also not wait so that the shot doesn’t “wear off.”

“Just go ahead and get it. It should carry immunity through the season,” he said.

“Just get it done. Walk in, get your shot, and be healthy. I’m all about it,” Condon said.

Click here for a list of the clinics and details on the upcoming free flu shot opportunities at SSM facilities.

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