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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Flu season is underway, and experts say that means it’s time for you to get vaccinated with either a flu shot, or mist.

At BJ’s Family Pharmacy in Starkville, flu shots have been available for the past month. A steady flow of patients have taken the slight pinch of this year’s flu shot to reduce their chances of getting sick.

“Because of the severity of last year, what we typically see is that there will be an increase number of flu shots, and inoculations against it,” said owner and pharmacist BJ Cougle.

But you have options. Cougle says a flu mist may be right for you. The nasal spray is just as effective as the traditional vaccine.

“You’re actually getting a mild form of the virus in the flu mist, as opposed to the flu shot, where you’re actually just getting some dead parts of it,” he said.

Even though you skip the sting of the vaccine, the flu mist is not recommended for everyone.

“In certain populations, we would definitely want to avoid giving a live, attenuated virus such as the flu mist to people that have a lower immune system, or elderly, something along those lines,” Cougle said. “We’d want to avoid it. And pregnant women would want to avoid it, but for the most part, it’s going to work the same.”

And when is the best time to get vaccinated?

Medical experts with the Centers for Disease Control recommend you get the flu shot as soon as it is offered.

Cougle, however, says it’s best to wait.

“We start to really push ours around October 1, or right around there, just to make sure we have full coverage throughout the flu season.”

That’s because flu season runs until March, and some studies show the shot usually lasts about four to five months.

It’s still too early to tell if this flu season will be as severe as the last, but Cougle doesn’t believe it’ll be as bad as last year – especially if people continue to get vaccinated. 

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