Vaccines for Flu Season - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Vaccines for Flu Season

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With the cold and the rain, it's a reminder that fall and winter are on the way and that it's time to prepare for flu season.

Now that flu vaccines are available, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that those 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine.

"It's important that the healthy people are vaccinated, so that they don't spread the disease to somebody who would have more severe health effects from it," said Tamalee St. James, Riverstone Health community health services director.

Those vulnerable to the flu are the elderly, infants, and those with chronic diseases. Last year, there were about 800 reported cases of the flu in Yellowstone County and 15 deaths from the flu. The flu shot contains three viruses determined by the CDC.

"They track the flu viruses that outbreak around the globe and then they try to predict what strain's going to be the most prevalent in the area and that's what they make the flu vaccine to protect us against," St. James said. "They don't always get it correct, but hopefully they'll match it."

You can get either a nasal flu mist, which contains a live virus, or a shot. Symptoms of the flu include a fever over 100 degrees, aches, and a sore throat.

Public health officials have a few tips for preventing the spread of the flu.

"Cover your cough," St. James said. "Use a tissue to blow your nose and throw that away. Wash your hands frequently and stay home when you're sick."

Doctors say that after a fever breaks, you should stay home for at least 24 hours. Last year, flu season peaked late December and early January.

You can get flu vaccinations at Riverstone Clinic, your primary care doctor's office, and pharmacies.