Allergic to eggs? Hate big needles? Not a problem. This year's influenza vaccine has something to please everyone.
The new vaccine will come with many options, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
For those with egg allergies, there's a vaccine without egg proteins. For those with a fear of needles, nasal sprays and tinier needles can deliver the vaccine. A high-dose vaccine for the elderly to boost their immune response and protection also will be offered.
In addition, this year's vaccine will include four strains of influenza instead of three, said Cheryl Andreasen, a registered nurse with the Weber-Morgan Health Department.
"The influenza vaccine is becoming quite unique, and it's pretty exciting," she said. "The vaccine is more personalized for people, and because of that, it will be important to educate yourself about the flu as well as your options."
In the past, flu vaccines have been designed to protect against three viruses that experts predict will be the most common strains circulating during the influenza season.
This year, experts have added a fourth strain. They will include two A strains and two B strains, Andreasen said.
"Because there are four strains, they call this a quadrivalent vaccine," she said.
"There have always been two A strains and one B covered in the vaccine, but this year, they are covering two B strains as well."
The vaccine for the 2013-14 flu season will be made to fight A/California (H1N1), A/Victoria (H3N2), B/Massachusetts and B/Brisbane. Protection against the B virus is important when it comes to children, because the strain can be quite serious, experts say.
"Some places may still order the trivalent vaccines, which only contain three viruses, so it will be important to ask your provider which injection they carry," Andreasen said.
"At the health department, we have ordered the quadrivalent vaccine and should have them sometime in the next month. Most places should be ready to give the vaccines by Sept. 1."
In addition, Andreasen said, the health department will be giving the influenza vaccine to elementary school students in the Ogden and Weber school districts on Oct. 7.
The tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine will also be offered to all sixth-graders.
Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe illness and sometimes death.
Symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, fatigue, headache, vomiting and diarrhea.
During 2012-13, the CDC reported an overall moderately severe flu season and more reported deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza compared with recent years. The death count included 149 children across 38 states.
Because of an increase in world travel, influenza is always circulating. However, it tends to peak in January and February.
Prevention through vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, Andreasen said, and as always, if you become sick, stay home.
NEW INFLUENZA VACCINE OPTIONS
* A shot with four strains of influenza rather than the traditional three strains
* Nasal sprays with four strains
* A high-dose vaccine for the elderly to boost immune response and protection
* Two new vaccines without egg proteins
* For the needle-phobic, a new vaccine delivered by a tiny needle, called a micro-needle, into the skin rather than by a regular needle under the skin