Doctors recommend flu shots ahead of season

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As summer winds down and flu season approaches, doctors are reminding patients to get their flu shot early.

“Sometimes we have an early flu season and it’s here by the end of October,” explained Dr. Elaine Cox, medical director of infection prevention for Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

Last season began early for Indiana and it was an aggressive one.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, 72 Hoosiers died from the flu during the last year’s flu season. Twelve of those deaths were reported in Marion County.

While many of those victims suffered underlying medical conditions, only 28 people were confirmed to have been vaccinated.

Plainfield mother Misty Hayes got her 12-year-old daughter vaccinated for school on Monday and was surprised when she was asked if she wanted to add in the flu shot.

“That time frame kind of did throw me off,” said Hayes. “I was like, might as well just go ahead and do it now instead of waiting.”

For those who fear getting sick from the flu shot, Cox said it’s impossible.

“You cannot get the flu from the flu shot,” she said. “There are some people that may have a slight reaction to the flu shot. They may have an achy arm. They may not feel well for about 24 hours. And that’s just their body responding to the shot and making antibodies, which is what we want it to do.”

The Indiana State Department of Health reported it has already ordered vaccines for the 2013-2014 season.