Getting your flu shot is important all year round, especially during flu season and the global coronavirus pandemic still being extremely predominant.
But when’s the best time to get a flu shot? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best time to get a flu vaccine — which reduces the risk of severe flu-related illness, hospitalization, or death — is any time between September and the end of October. This corresponds with the time of flu season as it typically lasts from October to May in the Northern Hemisphere and from April to September in the Southern Hemisphere.
Even if flu activity is low in your community, still get your flu shot from your local doctor, as you shouldn’t wait for a surge in cases to be the reason you get your vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that it takes our body about two weeks to develop any antibodies that protect against flu.
Continue reading to hear from me, Dr. Farizani, as I answer all your popular questions about the flu season.
Flu Vaccine for 2021 – 2022 Season
For 2021 – 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine as an option for vaccination this season which includes:
- Injectable Flu Vaccines or Flu Shots
- Flu shots that are made with inactivated viruses
- One flu shot that is made without influenza viruses
- A live attenuated influenza vaccine, which is given by nasal spray.
Why is it important to get your flu shot between September and the end of October?
Hundreds of people tend to forget influenza, also known simply as the flu, is a potentially severe disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the exact timing and duration of the flu season vary year to year. Still, it typically begins in October, peaks between December and February, quiets down in March, but activity can last into May.
To prevent flu, it’s recommended for the general public to receive their flu shot before the end of October since that’s when the flu season starts to pick up. However, some health care physicians may recommend high-risk patients – asthma, COPD, diabetes, HIV, and cancer – to get the flu shot during March.
Who should get a flu vaccine this season?
A very common and popular question is, “who should get a flu vaccine this season?” Well, the answer is everyone 6 months and older should receive the influenza vaccine every year to protect their immune system, with rare exceptions. The vaccine reduces the risk of flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work, and school due to flu and prevents flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
The influenza vaccine is essentially vital for people who are at risk for complications of severe complications from the flu, which includes:
- Adults 65 years and older
- Pregnant people
- Young Children
- People with disabilities
- Racial and ethnic minority groups
- Adult with chronic health conditions
Who Should Not Receive a Flu Shot?
As stated previously, the general public should receive the influenza vaccine every year. However, there is an exception for some people not being vaccinated or only receiving certain influenza vaccinations.
This can depend on the person’s age, health (current and past), and whether they have specific allergies in response to the influenza vaccine. The people who should not be vaccinated includes:
- Children younger than 6 months
- People with severe, life-threatening allergies to any ingredient in the influenza vaccine (other than egg proteins) could be gelatin, antibiotics, or any other ingredients.
- People who previously experienced a severe allergic reaction to a dose of influenza vaccine.
Does flu vaccination protect against COVID-19?
The flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19. During this climate, it’s essential for you and the people surrounding you that you receive both the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine to keep everyone safe and healthy. Remember, the flu and COVID-19 are different diseases, so you need both vaccines to be protected from each one.
Furthermore, if you haven’t received either vaccine, it’s completely safe to get them simultaneously, which could save you time and money.
Hillcroft Physicians Helps Everyone During Flu Season
I hope I answered all your questions about flu season, from when’s the best time to get a flu shot to whether the flu vaccine protects against COVID-19.
Generally, everyone should get a flu vaccine, but as always, it’s essential to discuss it with your primary care physician and see what they recommend for your health. My medical facility, Hillcroft Physicians, understands the importance of fighting the flu season, mainly since the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that it is possible to attain the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.
At Hillcroft Physicians, we are open to discussing health and vaccination recommendations. After our discussion, we can go ahead and give you the flu vaccine or schedule an appointment for your vaccination. Our goal is to keep your immune system healthy during flu season. Visit us today, and ask for Dr. Farizani for all your healthcare needs!