(WTVM) - Good news and bad news about this year's flu - doctors are anticipating a nasty season. However, the CDC reports this year's vaccine is a good match for circulating strains and there's plenty of it.
Last year, the flu vaccine was only about 19 percent effective. Doctors say this year, the vaccine is expected to perform better.
Plus, even when the vaccine isn't a good match for the strains going around your school or office, they still help lessen the severity of the illness.
"Number 1, wash your hands. Number 2, wash your hands. Number 3, wash your hands and finally get a flu shot," advises Dr. Frederick Kam, Medical Director at Auburn University.
Dr. Kam says flu season is upon us.
"We've already seen mostly Type B influenza, we also have seen Type A," he said.
He says now is the time to roll up your sleeve, get the vaccine and protect yourself from the aches, pains, fever and overall misery of flu season that can stretch into March and sometimes even May.
"Every year 30,000 succumb to influenza and it's the very young and very old that are most at risk," he said.
Children 6 months and older, seniors, and pregnant woman are considered high risk and need to get vaccinated.
"It gives passive immunity to the child in utero and it keeps the flu from the household where there is a more significant risk to babies," he explained.
Dr. Kam says getting a flu shot protects, your family and others who are unable to get vaccinated.
"Six months or younger or people who are presenting with a high fever or are sick or if they have any allergies to the flu vaccine they should not get one. However, talk to your pharmacist and doctor about that. Everyone else should get it," Dr. Kam said.
The CDC says this year's vaccine will protect against three viruses, two A and one B strain. The quadrivalent vaccine protects against an additional B virus.
Dr. Kam says high risk groups should consider getting the quadrivalent.
It takes a while for the flu shot to kick in. After being vaccinated it takes your body 10-14 days to build up immunity.
If you hate needles, you can always get the FluMist, a nasal spray.
Doctors say you can't get the flu from the flu shot and you should still get a shot even if you think you've had the flu.