This time of the year brings new responsibilities and priorities, growing our to-do lists as the weather cools down. In the midst of the chaos, you may have forgotten about an important annual task: getting your flu shot.
No need to worry, it’s not too late. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says now is a great time to be sure you’re protecting yourself and those you love from the flu.
Every flu season is different, but flu activity usually peaks between December and February each year, with some seasons lasting until May. It takes up to two weeks to inoculate the body after receiving the vaccine, so the CDC often recommends people get the shot between October and late November, although it’s better to have protection anytime during flu season than not at all.
Who should get a flu shot? Health officials strongly suggest that anyone older than 6 months should get the flu vaccine, with exceptions for some who are pregnant or have chronic medical issues. The vaccine is the safest and most effective way for people to reduce the risk of catching or passing on flu viruses. It’s especially important to protect vulnerable populations, including newborns, seniors and those with immune conditions.
You might still catch the flu if you have gotten the flu shot, but symptoms will likely be milder. And no, you can’t get the flu from a flu shot.
Health clinics at colleges and workplaces nationwide typically offer the shots for free, and you can also get one at doctors’ offices, pharmacies and some supermarkets.
Make getting your flu shot a priority to protect yourself and your loved ones this busy fall season.