Which Flu Shot Should I Get?

Yes, you do have choices!

Q: Help! With all of these different kinds of flu shots, how do you know you're getting the right one?

Oz says: First, any shot is "the right one," compared to getting none at all. The traditional flu vaccine stimulates production of antibodies—it's like a personal trainer for your immune system—for the three main strains of flu viruses expected this season (that's why it's called a "trivalent" vaccine, if you want to get technical).

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However, some companies have come out with a vaccine (including the nasal-spray type) that protects against a fourth strain. The "quad" vaccine should be easier to find this season than it was last year. I say get this one if it's available to you.

In addition, there's some controversy over the safety of the vaccine preservative called thimerosal. I'm concerned enough that I'd advise people to avoid it—especially children and pregnant women. If your provider has a thimerosal-free shot, that's the one to go for.

This story originally appeared in the December 2014 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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