Health officials say you're 'rolling the dice' by not getting a flu shot

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BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- It's that time of year when you hear over and over to get your flu shot.

Health officials say it is very important to always get your flu vaccine, especially this year with early signs pointing to the fact this could be a bad flu season.

Health officials say it is very important to always get your flu vaccine, especially this year with early signs pointing to the fact this could be a bad flu season.

Experts say they look to the Southern Hemisphere to see what their flu season was like to determine how severe our flu season will be.

According to health officials, Australia had an early and aggressive flu season, which could point to how severe our flu season will be.

"That is something we want to prepare for and encourage people to get their vaccine," said Erin Crace, a nurse Supervisor with the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department.

In Kentucky, more than 200 cases of the flu have already been confirmed. Crace says two cases have been confirmed so far in Boyd County.

"We have seen some earlier cases," Crace said. "We haven't had a lot of cases, but we have already started seeing cases which is why we are encouraging people to get their flu shot."

Crace says there are a couple misconceptions when it comes to getting the flu shot, including the fact that it won't protect you the entire season if you get it early and the flu shot can cause the flu.

"The CDC says you should get it as soon as it's available, and typically we here at our clinic start to give it mid-September," Crace said. "You want to get that vaccine as soon as it's available so it will protect you for the entire flu season."

Crace likened not getting the flu shot to rolling the dice and taking your chances.

"It's not just for the protection of yourself but also the ones you love," Crace said.

She stressed the importance of getting your flu shot before the season starts to ramp up so the vaccine has time to kick in.

Flu season typically starts at the end of September or beginning of October and can last until May.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests anyone six months or older get the flu vaccine.