Oct 1, 2013 1:48 AM by Connie Tran, KSBY News
Flu season officially started on Sunday, according to the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department. The department said the contagious virus can spread into the community any day now, and doctors recommend that community members be prepared by getting the flu vaccine as soon as possible.
Some local doctors in San Luis Obispo said on top of everyday routines of washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, doctors recommend getting the flu vaccine.
Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center's Director of Pharmacy, Michael Amorteguy said, "It's always better to be safe than sorry. Flu shots are very safe so it's a great way to protect yourself, so, the earlier the better."
Amorteguy said the flu shot is meant to prevent people from getting the contagious virus. He said the vaccine can build up people's immunity to help fight off the flu.
"Just for prevention, to build up that immunity so when people are sick, then you have your best immunity already built up to to fight it off," said Amorteguy.
SLO County Health Officer Penny Borenstein said it takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective in the body.
She said, "It is recommended that you get your flu shot as soon as you can get your hands on one."
Borenstein said since the flu season began on Sunday, vaccines are now available for people across the county. Cal Poly's Health Center will have their flu vaccines available to students for $10, in early October.
Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center said it takes the flu virus so seriously that the hospital highly encourages all of its employees to get the flu shot. Those that don't get vaccinated are then required to wear a mask around patients.
"Every year it's important to get the flu shot, because we never know going into the season how bad it's going to be," said Borenstein.
But Amorteguy reminds, the flu vaccine may not protect you completely from every strain of the virus.
He said, "There's a lot of different flus and colds out there and a flu shot won't cover, they just try to cover the most serious strains that cause people the most sicks and most mortality."
But he and Borenstein said they still recommend everyone to get the flu shot- most importantly to children, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions.
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