CHEVY CHASE, Md. (WUSA) -- The signs are popping up at pharmacies and doctors offices everywhere: Flu shots are here! Experts advise everyone to get vaccinated to avoid catching and spreading the flu.
Carlos Picone, MD of Chevy Chase Pulmonary Associates says, "Influenza season will be here, its best to be immunized."
Last year in the District of Columbia only 39 percent of adults got the flu vaccination. Dr. Picone wants to improve those stats.
According to the CDC, more than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized with the flu each year. Flu vaccines have been available since 1968.
The strategy behind getting everybody immunized is referred to as "herd immunity". In other words, the more people who are protected, the less likely more vunerable people will get sick.
Dr. Picone says, "This has been looked at time and time again and the vaccines are safe. One of the reasons why longevity in the general and public health has increased over the past 50 years is totally vaccines."
There's a newer option for those who don't like feeling the jab of the big needle. The Fluzone Interdermal vaccine has a 90 percent smaller needle and it works just under the skin. The Fluzone Interdermal vaccine was first made available last flu season.
There is also the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV also called the FluMist that is available for people under 50. Check with your physician for costs, insurance coverage, and possible side effects for all options.
Dr. Picone says, "Don't keep waiting until it gets deeper into the season because we just don't know if the peak is going to be reached in February, it can be sooner."