What to know about vaccinations this flu season - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

What to know about vaccinations this flu season

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KENNEWICK, WA - The dreaded flu season is officially upon us, so we sent reporter Mackenzie Allen to find out what you can do to keep yourself from getting sick, and what to do if you fall ill.

There's some good news and bad news about flu season. Last year, nearly 300 people in Washington died from the flu, but there are some very easy steps we can all take to reduce our risk of getting sick.

Trios in Kennewick has already started seeing people with flu-like symptoms, which means it's time to get vaccinated.

"Everybody over the age of 6 months should get the flu shot," said Tammy Barnes, RN at Trios. 

And unlike years past, Barnes says they expect this vaccine to be very effective.

"The influenza that we're seeing out there, the particular strain, is actually the strain that is in the vaccine, so we're looking at a very good match this year," Barnes said.

But you will have to get the shot - for a second year in a row, the nasal spray is not available. And no, the vaccine isn't going to give you the flu.

"Absolutely impossible. It's a dead virus that we're giving you," explains Barnes. "What your body is going to do is build those antibodies. It takes two full weeks to build up the antibodies though, so if you've been exposed to it already you can still come down with it."

Of course, however, no vaccine is perfect.

"Hand washing, sanitizing, it really doesn't matter...they're both going to be effective against the flu. Just make sure you're doing it. Once you've done it and you think you've done it enough, do it some more."

And although you may think drugstore cold and flu remedies work the best, the jury is still out on their actual effectiveness. Stick with the tried and true method of staying home if you're sick; getting plenty of sleep and drinking lots of fluids.

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