Flu season is officially upon us, and health officials in Grand Rapids and around the country are urging everyone to get their annual vaccine.

This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed two types of vaccines: a “regular dose” flu shot for people with healthy immune systems, and a “high dose” shot for older adults whose immune systems may have weakened with age.

Every year, many people are hesitant to get the flu vaccine, either because they don’t think they’ll be affected, they dislike needles, or they’re afraid the shot might actually give them the flu. Dr. Daniel McGee, a pediatrician at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, maintains that those fears are unfounded.

“It will never give you the flu, it doesn’t work that way,” he told NBC News. “You can get muscle aches and a little bit of fever after the flu shot, but that just means it’s working. That doesn’t mean it’s giving you the flu.”

Even in the most mild of years, the influenza virus is said to account for 75 million absences from work and 200 million days of reduced workplace productivity. At its worst, it can be lethal, as some families learn the hard way.

Piper Lowery was just 12 years old when she died of the flu. But her mother, Peggy, is working to make sure that no one else has to suffer the same fate. Peggy is raising awareness with the Fight the Flu Foundation by knitting 100,000 infant hats to be donated to hospitals across the country.

“Believe me, I would take her back within a second,” she said. “But there’s been a lot of good that’s come out of this that’s helped other people. She’s impacted so many lives, I cannot tell you. I can’t go back and rewrite history.”

Like the CDC, Lowery wants to encourage everyone six months of age and older to get a new flu shot every year.

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