Flu Shot Specialist

Dean K. Otaka, MD

Family Medicine located in Aiea, HI

The flu can sap you of energy, leaving you feverish, achy, and tired for days. That’s why family practitioner Dean Otaka, MD, recommends you get a flu shot every year. The shot is quick and can prevent you and your loved ones from getting or spreading the flu. To find out more, call or book a consultation online with his family medicine practice in the Aiea area of Honolulu.

Flu Shot Q & A

What are flu shots?

Yearly flu shots are the best way to protect yourself from the flu. Getting a seasonal flu vaccine lowers your risk of contracting the flu by about half.

For most people, a bout of the flu is generally mild. But for some, the flu can be serious — even life-threatening. Certain people are at higher risk of serious complications from the flu. This includes pregnant women, older adults, babies and young children, and people with common, chronic conditions.

Flu shots don’t give you the flu. Instead, the vaccine protects you from getting it and prevents the flu from spreading to your friends, family, and coworkers.

Who should get flu shots?

Children, teens, and adults should get a flu shot every year. If you have a high risk of developing complications from the flu, then it’s particularly important to get a flu shot.  

Individuals at high risk for flu-related complications include:

  • People with asthma, diabetes, cancer, or other long-term health conditions
  • Pregnant women
  • Children 5 years old and younger, especially children under age 2
  • Adults age 65 and up

Who should not get flu shots?

Although most people benefit from flu shots, infants who are not yet 6 months old should not be immunized. Before getting a flu shot, you should talk to your doctor if you have certain health conditions or allergies, including:

  • An immune system disorder called Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • A life-threatening allergic reaction to an ingredient in the vaccine, like eggs or gelatin, or to a dose of vaccine

If you’re sick, it’s best to wait until you’re feeling better to get a flu shot.

What are the side effects of flu shots?

It’s rare to experience serious side effects from the flu vaccine. Most side effects are minor and go away in a few days. After your flu shot, you may experience pain, swelling, or redness at the site of the shot.

Other side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Upset stomach

Even if you have side effects, these problems are much safer for your health than getting the flu. The flu shot is constantly being updated to protect you from the latest forms of flu virus.

If you’re ready for the best protection from the flu, call or schedule a consultation online with Dean Otaka, MD, to get your flu shot.