We have approached that time of year once again. A crisp chill has returned to the air - soon the gloves and mittens will be coming out, and we'll all have to crank up our heat. But that's not the only thing that will need to cranked up - we need to hike up our immune system.
We're all told to get the flu shot every year - but does it really matter? It's just the flu, right?
"People die from the flu," says Patty Seifried of Little Falls Hospital. "I was actually at a health conference [recently] and they discussed a health care worker who was really quite healthy, she was in her 30s, really quite athletic, she ran marathons; she decided not the get the flu vaccine and she got the flu, she ended up dying from the flu."
Seifried says it's not something anyone wants to go through - and the vaccine is good at preventing the illness. But just because the harsh temps haven't hit our area yet doesn't mean it's not time to get the flu shot - some clinics have been offering it since august, and Seifried says it's a good idea to get before the end of November. For those who are needle shy there's a new product that delivers the vaccine without that long, scary needle. Don't be alarmed if your arm is a bit sore after the shot - and Seifried says don't worry, you're not going to get the flu from the flu shot.
"People need to remember that when you're getting the flu vaccine this time of year many people are moving inside so colds are more common, a lot of people want to blame the cold they go on the flu, but chances are they got a cold from someone they were near."
She says several area pharmacies offer the flu shot, or Seifried suggests going to the public health office. And always ask your physician to figure out which variety of the shot is best. While Seifried suggests most people get the vaccine, she says people with certain allergies - like allergies to eggs - need to be careful.