Fall is here and so is flu season – here’s what you need to know for the upcoming flu season.
When to Get the Flu Shot
In the US, the typical flu season begins as early as October and runs as late as May, with peak months typically hitting between December and February. The CDC encourages individuals to get vaccinated as early in the season as possible, so ideally you should aim to receive a flu shot before the end of October. If you’ve missed that deadline, that’s okay! It’s never too late to get the flu shot.
How Effective is the Flu Shot?
On average, the annual flu vaccine is around 40 percent effective. By comparison, most other vaccines that protect against infectious diseases have to be at least 90 percent effective to be considered successful. Influenza is different than other infectious diseases because of it’s unpredictability and ability to change within the season.
The flu vaccine for the 2019–2020 season has been formulated to protect against both H1N1 and H3N2, the two strains that dominated last year’s flu season, as well as other strains that are currently circulating. Unfortunately, influenza is unpredictable and decisions about which flu strains will be included in the vaccine each year have to be made well before flu researchers know which strains will be dominant during the upcoming season.
Even though it’s not perfect, the vaccine still offers the greatest chance at protection. If you do happen to come down with the flu even though you received the vaccination, it will cut down the longevity of your symptoms and it should protect you from the major complications such as pneumonia.
Who Should NOT Get the Flu Shot?
It is important to note that not everyone may be healthy enough to receive the Flu vaccine. For example, those who should not receive the flu shot may include:
- Children that are younger than 6 months.
- Individuals with severe allergies to the flu vaccine or any ingredients in the flu vaccine such as gelatin, antibiotics, eggs, or other ingredients, should only get the vaccine that is free of these ingredients.
- If you are not feeling well, you should speak with a doctor about your symptoms before receiving a flu shot.
- Those who have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome should consult with their physician before getting a flu shot.
How to Protect Yourself Against the Flu
- Disinfect frequently used surfaces, such as phone screens and door handles
- Wash your hands regularly to prevent the spread of germs
- Eat a healthy diet to boost your immune system
- Avoid people that are sick and stay home when you are sick
Think you have the flu?
If you think you have the flu, visit a clinic right away. The flu can be treated with antivirals, which are most effective within the first 48 hours. These prescription medications not only reduce the severity of symptoms, but can shorten the duration of the flu by one or two days. Our clinics are open 7 days a week at your convenience. Skip the waiting room and reserve your spot online so you’ll be in and out in no-time.