It's not too late; get your flu shot now - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

It's not too late; get your flu shot now

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Health officials now recommend a flu shot for almost everyone older than six months. And if you haven't had one yet this season, there's still time.

Dr. Bob Travnicek worked with the Mississippi Department of Health for more than 24 years. He says it's one of the most important vaccines you'll ever get.

"It's an influenza shot; so you're getting protection against one of the worst illnesses you can have in your lifetime."

Dr. Travnicek knows all too well why a flu shot is important. He says if you've had influenza before, you know you never want it again.

"I had it about five to seven days when I was a teenager. I thought I was gonna die, and at one point even wished I would. It is hell on earth."

The debilitating symptoms can last for several days. Travnicek says people will definitely know they are very sick if they get the actual flu.

"They have raging fever, they're completely knocked off their feet, often have difficulty breathing. In addition, their head hurts, their eyes hurt, their toenails hurt; everything hurts. And the weakness is incredible; you can't roll over."

And don't forget the risk of complications, even death; especially among those with chronic illnesses, the elderly and young children.

"I think it was about ten years ago in Denver in the early part of the season when more than 60 infants died from Influenza."

This year's flu shot offers protection against the H1N1 flu virus, in addition to two other influenza viruses that are expected to be in circulation this flu season. And while a minimal number of cases have been reported in Mississippi so far this season, Travnicek says that could change over night.

"It's kind of like a hurricane. There's little warning and you never know which way it's really coming."

Dr. Travnicek says getting the flu shot makes sense. He says if you haven't had one yet; get it now.

"It's never too late."

Keep in mind it takes up to two weeks to build immunity after getting a flu shot. And while it's recommended for most people six months and older, the CDC recommends that you talk to your doctor before getting a flu shot, if you are allergic to eggs or have had a severe reaction to a previous flu vaccine.

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