Why getting a flu shot should be at the top of your fall to-do list
As new strains of flu and COVID begin to spread this fall, getting your flu shot is important. Internist Raymond Wong, DO, explained why.
“I want people to begin to think about getting their flu vaccine early,” said Dr. Wong. “Before the end of October or early November is ideal.”
While seasonal influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, in most years, flu activity peaks between December and February. Getting vaccinated early to helps ensure maximum effectiveness throughout the entire flu season.
Those at risk for complications from the flu include:
- Children – Children should be vaccinated for flu at 6 months of age. Each year, millions of children get sick with seasonal flu, thousands are hospitalized, and some children die from it.
- Older adults – If you’re 65 or older, ask for a high-dose vaccine.
- People with chronic conditions – Those with chronic health problems should ALWAYS get vaccinated. It’s shown to be an important tool to help prevent complications associated with diabetes, heart and lung diseases.
- Pregnant women – Vaccination reduces risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant women.
Here’s what else you need to know about flu prevention:
- Shots cannot give you the flu. They can make the injection site sore, and you may feel achy. If you do have pain in your arm after the injection, consider taking an anti-inflammatory medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- Take care of yourself. In addition to getting the flu vaccination, take good care of yourself by having good health habits such as a healthy diet and exercise. Cover your mouth with your arm when you cough or sneeze. Frequently wash your hands with soap or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Disinfect surfaces. The flu virus can survive up to 48 hours on surfaces, so wipe down surfaces in your home with disinfectant.
If you do experience flu symptoms, immediately call your provider to see if antiviral drugs are appropriate for you. They can lessen flu symptoms and duration, but the medication will work best when started within 48 hours of an initial flu diagnosis.
Fight the flu
Get your flu shot and learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and others.Learn More About Getting a Flu Shot