SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Flu season can be a dangerous, even deadly time of year and Valley physicians are stocking up on vaccines for their patients.
There are a few changes Arizonans should be aware of before getting the shot. First, doctors don't recommend getting the nasal spray version of the vaccine, because they say it is not effective. That means patients will have to roll up their sleeves for an injection.
The flu vaccines are updated to match the viruses that are going around the 2016-2017 year. The vaccines protect against three or four viruses that researchers believe will be the most prevalent.
Doctors recommend everyone who is six months and older get the flu shot every year, by the end of October.
There are also modifications for people who have egg allergies. Dr. Janice Johnston says in the past, people who have egg allergies have been told to avoid the flu vaccine. Now, anyone who has an egg allergy can get the injection. However, Johnston recommends those with severe egg allergies get the shot in a doctor's office so they can be monitored.
The flu season can be unpredictable. Most people start getting sick in October and November, with the most activity between the months of December and March. It is possible to become sick with the flu as late as May.
Dr. Johnston says flu symptoms to watch out for are a body ache which will hit you very quickly, headache, cough, congestion and a sore throat. People who are at a higher risk of getting the flu are children younger than 5 and especially younger than 2 years old, adults 65 years and older and pregnant women.
To protect yourself from getting the flu, Dr. Johnston says to get the seasonal vaccine, stay away from sick people and wash your hands. If you do have the flu, don't go to work or school.
Where to get vaccinated
• Primary care provider
• Community health centers
*Community Health Centers accept most insurance and also offer the uninsured a sliding scale for services provided, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
• Walk-in care clinics
• Immunization clinics
• Local pharmacy
• County health departments
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health has three immunization clinics for children up to their 19th birthday. Immunizations are provided free of charge.
Vaccines are also available for uninsured or underinsured adults at these clinics.
1645 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, AZ 85006
635 E. Broadway Rd. Mesa, AZ 85204
1850 N. 95th Ave., Suite 184, Phoenix, AZ 85037
You can find additional vaccine locations using your address on the HealthMap Vaccine Finder.