The holidays often bring us joy, laughter and fond memories – and the height of flu season as well. Ushered in by fall and not releasing its hold until spring, many people are susceptible to viruses such as COVID, influenza and the respiratory syncytial virus, more commonly referred to as RSV.
Though COVID-19 has seemingly eclipsed other viruses in recent years, the flu and RSV still pose a danger to us and our loved ones, making the vaccinations against them equally important.
“Getting vaccinated helps protect people by creating an immune response without potentially contracting the illness,” said Mary Wise, owner and pharmacist of Herold’s Pharmacy and the recipient of HealthLinks magazine’s 2023 Best Pharmacy honors.
The vaccine schedule may vary based on age, underlying conditions or other deciding factors.
People are advised to get COVID and flu shots simultaneously, with the RSV vaccine to follow about two weeks later. Additionally, even if you received a flu vaccine last year, it’s important to ask your doctor or pharmacist if this year’s composition has changed. They often do, from year to year, so what provided protection last year may not have you covered this season.
Dispelling the myth that the flu shot will give you the flu or make you sick is important to Wise and her staff.
“The flu vaccine can’t give you the flu, nor does it increase your risk of COVID-19,” said Wise.
“Though it’s possible to develop flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and fever, for a day or two after getting the vaccine, there can be many reasons for such reactions.”
One reason may simply be a side effect of your body’s production of protective antibodies.
Also, because the flu shot requires about two weeks to take full effect, exposure to the influenza virus shortly before or during that time may allow the flu to grab hold.
On occasion, the influenza viruses used for the vaccine don’t match the viruses spreading during the current season. If this happens, your flu shot could be less effective. However, it may still offer some protection or lessen your symptoms.
Many other illnesses, such as the common cold, mimic flu-like symptoms, so you may think you have the flu when you actually don’t.
Herold’s Pharmacy is deeply invested in the health of its patients and works to provide quality care, which is why it expanded its services to include vaccines and other medical services. Serving Charleston and West Ashley, Herold’s Pharmacy is located behind Home Depot, next to Coastal Pediatrics. The staff at Herold’s is eager to help you defend yourself against these seasonal woes.
Founded in 2010 by local residents Mary and Michael Wise, Herold’s pharmacists and technicians have a reputation for knowing their customers, providing for their needs without a lot of waiting and accepting all public and private insurance – all with the lowest prices around.
For more information, visit heroldspharmacy.com.
By Amy Gesell