BEND, OR -- Colder weather typically ushers in flu season. But, Heather Kaisner with Deschutes County Health Services tells KBND News your stuffy nose is probably not the flu. "We haven’t really seen many cases yet – we’ve seen a handful. We do kind of a little local surveillance with labs and there has been lots of testing. So, there are lots of people with other things going on, but not flu. I tell people, before you travel for the holidays, get on plane with lots of other potentially sick people, to get your flu shot before that."
And, Kaisner says it's not too early, "Really it’s recommended for anyone six months and older. If you have any type of severe egg allergies or something like that, you’ll want to talk to your doctor. There are what they call contraindications, but there are very few. So, really most people can go out and get a flu shot."
This year’s flu shot appears promising. "Last year, unfortunately, the flu shot wasn’t a very good match – the strains that were in the vaccine and the strains that were circulating. The CDC is saying this year, it’s looking like the flu shot is a much better protection because it has that H3N2 virus that was spreading a lot last year, and it didn’t have it last year," Kaisner says. She admits, though, nothing is 100% effective and the best prevention is still good old-fashioned hand washing.