I figured the best way to write an article about the flu shot is to get one. So I'll break here while I run to the pharmacy.

(soft music playing...)

I'm back. It hurt. Now, on to the myths and facts about the flu vaccination:

Myth: Can a flu shot actually give you the flu?

Answer: This is the flu myth most likely to drive experts bonkers. “There is simply no way that the flu vaccine can give you the flu,” says Dr. Hay from WebMD.  “It’s impossible.”

Why? For one, injected flu vaccines only contain dead virus, and a dead virus is, well, dead: it can’t infect you. There is one type of live virus flu vaccine, the nasal vaccine, FluMist. But in this case, the virus is specially engineered to remove the parts of the virus that make people sick.

This year's flu season is starting earlier and hitting harder than it has in almost a decade, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

This is at least a month earlier than we would generally see the beginning of the uptick in cases," -  CDC director Thomas Frieden.

The flu strains circulating in the United States this year, especially the N3N2 strain, tend to cause more severe disease as well, he said. The good news is that this year's flu vaccine is a 90% match for the circulating strains. "So we're particularly encouraging people who haven't been vaccinated to do it," he said.

National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 2-8, and according to South Dakota State Epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger getting vaccinated is the single best way to protect you and your loved ones from the flu.

I spent 15 minutes for paperwork and $31.99 but they gave me a free cotton ball. Score!