Stopping the flu in its tracks: for medical professionals and health organizations across West Virginia, that is the goal this time of year. But when misinformation is spreading more rapidly than the virus itself, officials want to set the record straight.
"There are some myths about, 'Will I get sick from the flu shot?' Typically, the flu shot does not have flu in it. There's no live virus," said Jim Harris of Health Access.
"If within that two weeks after they were vaccinated they got ill, it's due to some other cause that we've already been exposed to," said Rose Clark, a family nurse practitioner.
Some doctors predict the major virus that will circulate is Influenza A H3N2 - the same as last year. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania blames a mutation in that flu strain, which they say made the vaccine much less effective.
"What they try to do when they try to put together what's going to go in the flu shot is to look at historical data to see what strains of the flu have been occurring throughout the country," said Harris.
Still, experts emphasize the importance of getting a flu shot.
"This year's flu shot is researched pretty extensively. Some of it is guesswork, but educated guesswork," said Harris.
The vaccine is recommended for everyone over six months. A special dose is available for people over the age of 65.
"There's a high-dose vaccine recommended for our senior citizens to protect them better," said Clark.
Experts say timing is everything.
"If you get a shot in July, you might only be covered through December, whereas the flu lasts until March or April. When you get it around the end of October, you're going to be covered through November, December, January - those are the really heavy flu months," said Harris.