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Pharmacies, health department encourage everyone to get flu vaccine after record-breaking year

The 2017-2018 flu season was deadly all across the country.

According the CDC, 80,000 Americans died from complications of the flu, including 180 children. Eighty percent of those children didn't get the flu vaccine.

The CDC said it was the worst flu season in decades, which is why officials are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.

Health officials said now is the time to get that flu shot.

"Right now, the CDC doesn't recommend the flu shots for under six months of age, but anyone else should get the flu shot,” said CVS Pharmacist James Kirk.

The flu affects individuals year-round but more so October through May.

"We've seen quite a few prescriptions here lately for antivirals, which are typically used to combat the flu,” Kirk said.

A survey by CVS found 22 percent of customers who didn't get a flu vaccine are much more likely to get a shot this year after the high number of flu cases last year.

"To protect yourself, and your family and others around you. I think the more people that are vaccinated, clearly just kind of makes everybody a little healthier all around,” Kirk said.

The county health departments are offering the flu shot at not cost. And, anyone over the age of six months can do it.

Children, pregnant women and anyone over 50 are especially encouraged to get the vaccine.

"The flu vaccine is really going to help in lessening the severity of your symptoms as well as lessening the duration that you have symptoms,” said Epidemiologist Kendra Dougherty.

Body aches, fever, headaches and fatigue lessened or diminished with the flu shot or nasal spray.

There are two main types of vaccine, one that protects from three strains and one that protects from four.

"You can ask, when you go to your doctor or go to a CVS or Walgreens, what kind of flu vaccine you have, is it going to protect me from three strains or four,” Dougherty said.

Both work but, if you can get the vaccine to protect four strains, all the better to combat the flu.

Kirk said individuals 65 and older should get the higher dosage.

For more information, click here.

To find a health department near you, click here.

CVS and Walgreens also offer the flu shot.

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