MedSpring Viewpoints

10 Things You Need To Know About the Flu

Flu shots are in clinics at MedSpring Urgent Care centers across Austin, Dallas, and Houston, TX; and Chicago, IL and flu season will (unfortunately) arrive before we know it.  That means it’s time to walk in to your nearest clinic and get protected with a flu shot.
10 things to know about the flu shot

There’s quite a few misconceptions out there, so we wanted to share what you need to know about the flu & flu shots:

  • When does the flu season start?

Flu season is unpredictable in terms of when it hits, how severe it is, and how long it lasts.  Flu season can begin as early as October and last until May.  The height of flu season is typically from December – February.

  • When should I get my flu shot?

We’re so glad you asked!  The CDC recommends that you get a flu vaccine every year as the best means of protecting yourself against the flu.  Most people are getting their flu vaccinations now.  The sooner you get the flu shot, the better!

  • Why should I get my flu shot earlier in the flu season / how long does it take for the flu shot to “work”?

The flu shot is not immediately effective in protecting you from the flu.  That is why you need it now!  It takes about two weeks following the shot for your body to develop the needed antibodies to combat the flu virus.

  • What does this year’s flu shot contain?

The three-component vaccines contain:

  1. A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus,
  2. A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus and a
  3. B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage).

The four component vaccines include the same three viruses above, plus an additional B virus called B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage).

  • Can the flu shot give me the flu?

No, the flu shot will not give you the flu.  This is a myth.  Some people report not feeling well after getting the flu shot.  These effects are minor and much less severe than the actual flu.

  • Are the viruses dead or alive in the flu vaccine?

The flu shots at MedSpring do not contain live virus particles.

  • Do I need insurance to get the flu shot?

No, at MedSpring we charge a flat rate for flu shots regardless if you have insurance or not.   (Note: if you have insurance, you may be eligible to submit the flu shot to insurance for reimbursement when applicable.  Additionally, if you have Medicare, you can walk in and get your flu shot and we will bill Medicare. For all other patients with insurance, we only bill your flu shot to insurance if you are in center for an urgent care visit.)

  • Can I get the flu shot if I’m pregnant?

Yes, and you should to protect you and your baby!  The flu shot will protect your baby for up to 6 months after birth.  The flu shot has been given safely to millions of pregnant women over the years and has not caused harm to pregnant women or their babies.

  • But, doesn’t getting the flu shot hurt?

Some people report having a sore arm a day or so after getting a flu shot, but that discomfort is much less severe than being sick with the flu!  The soreness is often caused by a person’s immune system producing protective antibodies in response to getting vaccinated- good news!  These antibodies are what allow the body to fight the flu.  The needle stick may cause some slight soreness at the injection site.

  • Why do some people not feel well after getting the flu shot?

The flu shot can cause mild side effects that are sometimes mistaken for the flu.  Some may have a low grade fever and muscle discomfort that, if experienced, last fewer than two days and are much less severe than the actual flu!

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