You may not be thinking about the flu when it’s sunny and warm, but it’s that time of year again.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel hosted its annual Free Flu Shot Saturday at six schools across Knox County. While getting a flu shot, people could donate to the Empty Stocking Fund, which gives holiday presents to kids in need.
Dr. Charlie Barnett said he started Free Flu Shot Saturday 26 years ago as a way to give back to the community.
“One of the hallmark symptoms of the flu is, ‘I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck,’” Barnett said.
According to the CDC, this year’s flu shot should protect you from two strains of influenza A and one strain of influenza B. Some vaccines also protect from a second strain of influenza B. This year, the CDC says don’t get the nasal spray vaccination, as it is not as effective.
The CDC also recommends you get vaccinated by the end of October, as it takes two weeks to kick in.
“I always get it this time every year,” Debbie Stinnett said.
Many people on Saturday said they’re used to getting it as early as September.
“I think it’s good to have it in September because look at this weather change,” Alma Cunningham said.
“I’ve learned it’s best to go ahead when there’s a good chance to do it,” Dave Stroud said.
Dr. Barnett said although there’s no good way to predict how bad a flu season can be, he’s been watching the flu season in Australia, which is in its winter right now. Based on that, he thinks it will be an early flu season.