The flu season has arrived, and you probably know a couple people who have already been affected by the illness. As a Loveland physician, we hear all the time from patients wondering if they should get a flu shot. The simple answer is yes. The flu is a serious illness that causes hospitalizations and deaths every year. Even healthy people can get the flu, so don’t think you are immune because you are healthy and in good shape. The Center for Disease Control has recommended everyone over 6 months of age be vaccinated annually against the flu. However, it is more imperative for some people to get vaccinated over others:
- People who are immune compromised
- People younger than 5 and older than 65 years old
- Pregnant women
- Health care professionals
- Any caregivers or other people who routinely come into contact with the above groups of people
Remember that the flu vaccine is the CDC’s best attempt at preventing certain types of the flu strain. It won’t vaccinate you against every type of flu. So while the shot will help prevent getting ill from those particular strains, you could still get sick. The vaccine changes every year based on new strains and the probability of infection.
Ideally, you should get your flu shot at the beginning of the flu season in October. It takes about two weeks for your body to build up the antibodies it needs to fight the flu, so the sooner you get your shot, the better off you’ll be. It isn’t too late to still get your shot this year! The flu season can last well into May, so you’ll still have months of protection ahead of you.
Still have questions about the vaccine and if it is right for you? Give our Loveland physician a call. We’re always happy to help you make the best choices for your health so you can get the most out of your life–even during flu season!