By Sara Dayley
St. Louis (KSDK) -- According to the CDC, flu season has arrived early this year. Health officials are urging everyone to get vaccinated, but did you know a shot is not the only option?
This week is National Influenza Vaccination week and it couldn't have happened at a better time.
Fewer than 40-percent of Americans have been vaccinated against the flu. If it's just the needle that's keeping you from protecting yourself, there may be other options.
When it comes to flu vaccines there are two types. The flu shot, is an inactivated vaccine that contains the killed virus and is administered typically in the arm.
The nasal-spray flu vaccine is the second option and is a vaccine made with the live, weakened flu virus, given as spray through the nose.
The CDC recommends you get the vaccine annually and it typically takes about two weeks for the body to respond.
One thing to keep in mind is that the severity of influenza seasons can differ substantially from year to year.
Research indicates that the same three strains that circulated most during last year's flu season will continue to be the most prominent three strains during this flu season. Some think that there are only a certain group of people that need to be vaccinated and it turns out, that is one of the biggest myths when talking about the flu and when it's in season.
Influenza can make anyone, including the healthiest, seriously ill.
The second flu myth is that the flu shot can actually make you sick and give you the flu. The truth is that the injection itself can cause you to have symptoms that may appear to be similar to the flu, but there is no truth to contracting the flu via the vaccination.
The third myth about flu vaccines is that you need a doctor's appointment for a shot. There are a ton of health clinics across the country that provide walk-in vaccinations, and no doctor's notes are necessary. Some local health organizations are even setting up drive-through flu shot clinics.
Typically, the flu peaks in January or February and can last as late as May and that's because friends and family are always together over the holidays.
It is never too late to get a flu shot.