Ready or Not, Here Comes Flu Season [AUDIO]
It may feel like summer outside, but the calendar says fall, and as we head into the month of October, flu season is getting underway in the Garden State.
"It's important to get vaccinated because flu shots are the single best way of avoiding the flu, and when you avoid the flu, you also avoid transmitting and spreading the virus to other people who are around you as well," says New Jersey State Epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan.
She points out the effectiveness of flu vaccine really does depend on "what are the strains of virus that are contained in the vaccine itself, and how well it's matched to what is actually circulating in the community."
It also depends on who is getting vaccinated.
"Age and individual health factors may also play a role in how effective the vaccine might be," she says. "No vaccine is 100 percent effective, but regardless, the vaccine is the best way of preventing flu."
Dr. Tan adds it's tough to predict how bad this year's flu season will be because "we never really have an idea of what the flu season is going to be like simply because flu virus is so unpredictable."
Some Jersey residents may not think they need to get a flu shot this year if they got one last year, but Dr. Tan says every single year the different types of strains in the community might be a little bit different from the previous years, so you still need to roll up your sleeves.
She also says people who think getting a flu shot may give you the flu are misinformed, and if you do get sick after getting vaccinated "it could be that they potentially might have already been exposed to a flu virus or another virus."
The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of six months get vaccinated, especially the elderly, those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women and health care workers.