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Finding a flu shot seems to get easier every year. If going to the trouble of making an appointment at your doctor’s office doesn’t appeal to you, consider one of the many alternative locations to get your flu shot.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the single best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get a flu shot. But does it matter where you go for your shot? For most people, the answer is no.
Traditionally, getting a flu shot meant paying for an appointment at your doctor’s office. Now, you can walk in to many pharmacies, or stores that contain pharmacies such as grocery stores and retail chains like Target or Walmart, and get a flu shot without an appointment.
That means your regular visit to the grocery store can fill your refrigerator and check your flu shot off your list of things to do, all in one quick trip.
Staff at all of these locations are required to follow standard protocols that include explaining risks, getting your signed agreement for the vaccine, and following sterile procedures to administer the shot. So for most people, getting a flu shot while out shopping is a good option.
But people who are at risk for a reaction to the flu vaccine should talk to their doctor before getting the flu shot. Talk to your physician first if any of these things are true for you:
• You are severely allergic to eggs.
• You had an allergic reaction to the flu shot in the past.
• You've ever had Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is a severe condition that causes paralysis.
• You don’t feel well.
If you have a mild allergy to eggs, the flu shot may be safe for you. That’s something your doctor or allergist will need to determine. If your allergy is severe, flu shots that are egg-free are available from your doctor.
While serious reactions to the flu vaccine are very rare, if you are at risk for one of these reactions, check with your doctor to find out if getting your flu shot at a retail store is a good option for you.
If fear of needles is holding you back from getting your flu shot, nasal flu vaccine may be an option for you.