It’s officially Influenza (flu) season, and most of us probably don’t need any reminders that coming down with the flu is no fun whatsoever. But there is one thing you can do to reduce your odds of getting sick this fall and winter—get a flu shot ASAP.
For most people, getting a flu shot takes barely any time at all. And by late October, the flu shot will be likely available at local pharmacies, physician’s offices, and even in some workplaces. Sometimes it’s even free. No matter how easy getting a flu shot may be, many people put off the task until their friends, family, and coworkers start to get sick. Unfortunately, by then it could be too late to avoid. Procrastinating your flu shot isn’t the greatest idea because the longer you wait, the longer you’re going without the flu shot’s protection. Getting a flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu, and the vaccine is known to reduce flu-related illnesses and the risk of related complications.
Here are some other important details you need to know about the flu shot:
What is the flu?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs.” The effects can range from mild to severe, sometimes even leading to death. Flu spreads extremely easily, likely through small droplets released when people sneeze, talk, or cough.
Some common flu symptoms, which you’ve probably experienced at one point or another, include fever, fatigue, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, achiness, headaches, and sometimes diarrhea or vomiting.
Is the flu shot effective right away?
Here’s another reason to quit procrastinating that flu shot—following vaccination, It takes about two weeks for your body to develop antibodies that protect you against the flu.
Can anyone get a flu shot?
The CDC recommends that everyone who’s at least six months old should get a flu vaccine each year prior to the start of flu activity in their region, and by the end of October, if possible.
Infants under the age of six months are too young to be vaccinated, but studies show that if the mother is vaccinated during pregnancy, this can offer some protection for the baby for a number of months after birth. Because infants under six months are at high risk, the CDC says it’s important for people who live with or care for infants to be vaccinated.
People with an allergy to the vaccine or any of its ingredients should avoid the vaccine or at least speak to their doctor to see if getting the flu shot is safe. The CDC recommends that people with the following conditions speak with their healthcare provider to see if vaccination is advised: those with an allergy to eggs or any other ingredient in the vaccine, people who have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and people who are not feeling well.
If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.