Did you know the best time to get a flu shot, providers say, is before the flu starts circulating?
That’s because it takes about two weeks from the time you get a shot for the vaccine to take effect in your body. You want to have the vaccine antibodies BEFORE the flu season kicks into high gear.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest people should be vaccinated by the end of October.
While it’s impossible to predict exactly when the flu will start appearing in Kansas City, flu activity across the U.S. typically peaks between December and February.
If you don’t make the October deadline, the CDC says, it’s still a good idea to get vaccinated, even into January.
Vaccinations are recommended for everyone ages six months and older. Pregnant women should also get flu shots to protect themselves and their babies.
At Swope Health Services, we are ready. When you come in for any kind of visit, your provider can give you a flu shot. Call for your appointment today: 816-923-5800.
“We encourage all our patients to get the flu shot to build a healthier community,” says Julie Richards, Director of Infection Prevention and Control, at Swope Health Services. “Remember, you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you are sick or while you are sick. Getting the flu shot protects all of us!”
Why is it important to get a flu shot? To prevent the disease from spreading, especially to the very young and very old and other people who are most vulnerable to flu complications.
For most people the flu is an inconvenience, but for some, the flu leads to hospitalization. Annually, an estimated 12,000 people die from complications of the flu – that’s the equivalent of about 23 747 jet planes full of passengers.
In addition to getting the seasonal flu vaccine, there are other basic steps you can take to stay healthy:
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid being around people who are ill
- If you become ill, don’t go to school or work or any place where you can spread the flu to others
What can you expect if you get the flu? Usually, flu symptoms, like a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat will come on quickly.
Most people have a fever of 100 degrees or more, aching muscles, chills and sweats, headache, dry cough, nasal congestion, and sore throat. They also may feel fatigued and weak. In short, having the flu is no fun.
Most people can recover from the flu on their own, although it can take a week or more for some people.
If you have risks of complications, don’t hesitate to see your provider, who can prescribe antiviral medications to help fight the infection.
More information about the flu:
- About Influenza from the Mayo Clinic
- Immunization for Women from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children from the American Academy of Pediatrics
- Safety and Prevention Tips for parents from HealthyChildren.org