Healthy Living: Flu Season, what you need to know

Hey there.  It's Marni Hughes, with Q13.  This week's "Healthy Living" topic focuses on the flu and the flu vaccine.  Since this is a subject we cover each year and often, I wanted to share with you some of my personal thoughts.

I do plan on getting my flu shot this year and will be taking my kids to get theirs as well. I know many of you have mixed feelings about the flu vaccine and a lot of legitimate, important questions.

First, let me say, like so many things in life, it's a personal choice. Do your research, talk to your doctor, get the facts and do what you think is right for you and your family.

Truth be told, I have not always gotten the flu shot. I don't remember getting it growing up. As a young adult, the flu and the flu shot wasn't something I put much thought into. However, now as a parent and a journalist who has interviewed countless doctors, I choose to get vaccinated for my own health, the health of my family and the overall health of the community.

I received my flu shot the last two years... and unfortunately did get the flu anyway. However, I'm told that my symptoms would have been much worse had I not gotten the shot, and I likely recovered quicker because of the vaccine. It is true, the flu shot is not 100% effective. Doctors also tell me the flu shot cannot and does not cause the flu. Every doctor I've spoken to year after year has said there is absolutely no scientific evidence to show the flu shot will give you the flu.

Today I sat down with Dr. Matthew Bressie, a family practice physician with Pacific Medical Centers. He talks us through some of the basic flu questions people often ask and clears up some of the myths.

Many local doctors offices and pharmacies are now offering the flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine every season. The CDC also says flu-related hospitalizations since 2010 ranged from 140,000 to 710,000, with deaths from the flu anywhere between 12,000 and 56,000. Last year, the Washington State Health Department confirmed 276 deaths from the flu in our state.

Here's a link to the latest Washington State Influenza Update, posted in week 36 of this year, September 3, 2017- September 9, 2017.

And here is a link to the CDC and their fact sheet on influenza.