Is it flu season? Do I need a shot? We asked experts - including if they got a jab yet

UC expert says the sooner the better for getting a flu shot

As September gives way to October, flu season is creeping up on the Greater Cincinnati area. asked some local health care experts a variety of questions about the flu and how to fight it. One of those was Jennifer Forrester, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC College of Medicine. 

When it comes to the timing of when to get a flu shot, Forrester said, "The earlier you get it, the earlier you are protected.  But, whenever you are able to get it is when you should get it."  

Jennifer Forrester, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine

Jennifer Forrester, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine/Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Marketing + Brand

Another question was whether people could get a flu shot and a COVID-19 booster at the same time. 

"I did not happen to get my COVID and influenza vaccines at the same time, but others in my family did and they felt just fine," Forrester said. "Just two sore arms instead of one."

The experts were asked if they had ever had the flu. 

"I had the flu several years ago, probably in my 30s," Forrester said. "My muscles hurt everywhere, I had a headache that lasted several days and I was so tired.  It was not 'just a bad cold.' That being said, I wasn't sick enough to need to go to the hospital."

On the question of what is the most important thing for people to know about the flu, Forrester said, "The fatality rate of most influenza strains is lower than COVID, but the illness can be worse than some COVID variants for some folks.  Plus, the flu can keep you down and out for about a week or so, and that's a lot of time off work or out of school, athletics, or other fun events." 

Read the entire story here.

Forrester's colleague, Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases was interviewed on the same topic by Spectrum News. See that coverage here

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