Greenville, N.C. (WITN) - The Pitt County Public Health Department has confirmed one influenza A case. Health professionals are urging patients to get their flu shots early.
John Silvernail, the Pitt County Public Health Director, said, “The peak of flu season generally happens right after the holidays; so, late December, early January. People want to get vaccinated now so that they have antibodies or immunity by the time flu season starts.”
He says it takes a few weeks to build immunity.
George Bailey says he always gets his flu shot. He stopped by Globe Pharmacy in Greenville to get ahead of the flu season.
“If you get the shot, and the strains the shot is designed to address are in the environment around you, then you’re less likely to get the flu. Some other strain comes along, then, it doesn't make any difference, but you reduce your chances of getting the flu statistically by getting the shot," Bailey said.
The CDC says the vaccine prevented an estimated 5.3 million influenza illnesses in the 2016-2017 year. Despite the statistics, many patients still have their reservations about getting the shot. Some are squeamish around needles, others question the effectiveness, and some even believe the flu shot gives you the flu.
“Most people get an inactive grade of vaccine. So, it is a vaccine that does not contain live virus and that cannot give you influenza. Some people will experience a syndrome-like influenza, or another virus, after the vaccination. And that’s actually, in some ways, a good sign because it means your immune system has responded to the vaccine.”
Health professionals say the flu vaccine is your best bet to preventing hospitalization, or worse.
“For many folks who have underlying health conditions, flu cannot only make them feel very bad; it can potentially be life-threatening,” said Silvernail.
Silvernail says most vaccines contain four strains of influenza virus that are the virus' most likely to circulate this flu season.