Fall is here, now is a good time to get a flu shot
Published 11:32 am Friday, September 23, 2022
Fall has officially arrived, and right behind its arrival is the first day of October, which will make its appearance next weekend. That means flu season is here and time to get a flu shot.
While it may be common, seasonal flu is a potentially serious disease. It can lead to hospitalization and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s why it’s recommended to get a flu vaccine every year to help protect yourself and your family. The flu vaccine can help:
• Weaken or prevent the flu
• Reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 to 60 percent
COVID-19 and the flu will likely both be spreading this season, according to the CDC. Protecting yourself from the flu with a flu shot helps reduce your risk of serious illness and hospitalization. It may be hard to know if you have COVID or if it may be a flu or a cold, since symptoms are similar. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine will give you the best protection.
It’s generally recommended that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, according to the CDC. This is especially important because of the ongoing spread of COVID-19. The flu season peaks often in February and can last until May, so you can still get the flu vaccine later. No matter when you get your flu shot, it will still be valuable to help protect you for the rest of the flu season. Talk to your provider about the best time to get your flu shot. Remember to ask about other vaccines you might need to protect yourself this year too.
Last year flu activity was significantly lower than during any previous season. Scientists said pandemic precautions most likely played a role, as many people adopted masking, social-distancing, and hand-washing habits.
Experts hope those behaviors will carry over into the flu season as people have returned to more normal behavior, such as attending public gatherings, eating out, and going to school. But, most people have stopped taking those precautions.
And while it is still uncertain how the season will play out, relaxed pandemic measures in some places will likely result in the resumption of seasonal flu virus circulation. Medical experts say this could set us up for a potentially severe flu season. The C.D.C. advises everyone over the age of 6 months old to get the shot, with a few exceptions. Vaccination is especially important for some groups of people, including those with underlying health conditions, older adults and young children.
It takes about two weeks for protection to develop after vaccination, so experts recommend getting vaccinated from September through the end of October, but even after that it is better to get the vaccine than not.
Common reactions to the flu vaccine can be a sore arm, and some people might get a little tired.
After you get a flu shot, continue to take steps to protect yourself and others from the flu. That means frequent hand washing, wearing a mask, and keeping a safe distance when you’re in public places. Here are more ways you can help protect yourself and your friends.
– If you’re feeling sick, stay home.
– Wash your hands throughout the day, especially after you’ve been in a public place or if you sneeze or cough.
– Avoid close contact with others and maintain a physical distance from others when you’re in public spaces.
– Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose to protect others in case you may be infected.
– Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily, like doorknobs, tables, countertops, phones, and more.
The flu season begins in October and November, peaks from December through February and can last until May, according to the CDC website.
So right now is the best time to get vaccinated. Some pharmacies have been offering flu shots since early September.