With tons of questions popping up regarding whether or not to get a flu shot, I thought it was time to ask an expert!  I spoke with local physician assistant, Gloria Degenhardt, from Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers. She had this to say when I asked her about why people should get the flu shot, and whether or not there is any truth to the idea that the shot can make you sick:

“Flu season is not just around the corner, IT’S HERE!  Influenza is an upper respiratory virus that causes coughing, fever, body aches, runny nose and YES possibly death!!  Influenza is NOT diarrhea and/ or vomiting.  Influenza is easily prevented with a yearly influenza vaccination.  Influenza vaccinations are recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months.  Pregnant women, children and immune compromised individuals are at particularly high risk of adverse effects from influenza.  Influenza vaccinations come in two different forms: injected and inhaled.  And NO!!!!!!  You CANNOT get influenza from a vaccination.  So please protect your health and the health of your loved ones this season by getting up to date on your influenza vaccination!!”

Avoid the spread of bacteria by washing hands

In addition to this GREAT advice, make sure to follow some simple steps to avoid getting sick, and to avoid the spread of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes if you do happen to get sick:  WASH YOUR HANDS with soap and water, or use a hand sanitizer if there is no soap & water available.  I know it sounds so simple, but doing this, and encouraging your kids to do so can really help to avoid the spread of disease.  Wash before and after ever meal, and every time you use the restroom!

Gloria said the following about hand washing and preventing the spread of the flu virus:  “To prevent the spread of influenza we recommend  good hand washing, cover your cough, and stay home when you are sick, BUT an annual vaccination against influenza is your best bet!  Influenza travels through the air on droplets from coughing and can live on any surface for up to four hours!!”

If that hasn’t convinced you, Mayo Clinic offers some great hand washing advice on their website about hand washing and preventing the flu.

More about Gloria Degenhardt, PA-C

TitlePhysician Assistant- Certified


TrainingUniversity of Wisconsin- La Crosse, Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Science and Chemistry with honors, Mayo School of Health Sciences, Degree in Physician Assistant Studies.  Completed rotation in Family Medicine, Ob/Gyn, Orthopedics, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, General Surgery, Dermatology and Emergency Medicine

Hobbies Playing with my grand-kids, horseback riding, golfing, snowmobiling, gardening or anything outside!

CertificationsAmerican Academy of Physician Assistant, Basic Life Support, Advance Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support



So tell us…

When was the last time you got a flu shot?