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FEATURE: fred's Pharmacy, with Distribution Center in Dublin, Answers Common Flu Vaccination Questions

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Dublin Business Journal Staff Report

November 2, 2017 - Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, your family and the community from flu, according to fred’s Pharmacy, the national company with a distribution center in Dublin. 

Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, and operating 601 general merchandise and pharmacy stores, including 14 franchised locations, the company has two distribution centers, one in Memphis, Tennessee, and one in Dublin.

The following Q&A with Tim Liebmann, fred's Inc. chief operating officer, pharmacy, provides timely information about flu and flu season and clarifies misconceptions about the flu vaccine.

Will the 2017-2018 flu season be severe?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it's impossible to predict what any flu season will be like. The timing, severity and length of the season varies from year to year. Still, some infectious disease experts in the U.S. have noted that, so far, the May–October flu season in Australia has produced more than twice the number of known cases than the previous season, and our flu season is often similar to Australia's. fred's recommendation, which follows CDC guidelines, is everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot.

Is stomach flu the same as seasonal flu?

No. The flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The illness level ranges from mild to severe and can sometimes result in hospitalization or death.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

A 100-degree or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)

A cough and/or sore throat

A runny or stuffy nose

Headaches and/or body aches

Chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea (most common in children)

Why should I get a flu shot?

While fewer than half of Americans receive flu shots, you protect yourself and lower the risk of spreading the flu to friends and family or other members of the community when you receive one. A widespread misconception is that getting a flu shot will make you get the flu, but that simply is not possible. Some vaccines are made with inactivated flu viruses and therefore are not infectious. Others contain no virus at all. Your pharmacist can explain the different types of vaccines–none of which can give you the flu.

Are there people who shouldn't get a flu shot, such as those who are in bad health?

Flu shots are safe for everyone over 6 months of age. The idea that people in poor health shouldn't get them is related to the myth that the vaccines make you sick with flu. In fact, it is especially crucial for people who have certain medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease, to get vaccinated. It's also important for:

Pregnant women

People younger than 5 years (but older than 6 months) and people who are 65 years and older

People who live with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications if they get the flu

How long does flu season last?

Flu activity begins to increase throughout October and November, but activity peaks between December and March and can last as late as May.

If I get a flu shot in October, will it be effective through the entire season?

According to the CDC, immunity received from flu vaccination can vary by person, but studies suggest that immunity lasts through a full flu season for most people. Some studies show, however, that immunity may decline more quickly in older people, so flu vaccines have been developed for people over 65. Your pharmacist can advise you on these vaccines if you're in that age group.

What do flu shots cost?

At fred's Pharmacy, shots are free with most insurance, although sometimes a copay is required.

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