Now that Fall is here, it’s time to start thinking about how to keep you and your family healthy in the coming months. Fall through Spring is considered cold and flu season, leading to serious illness for people of all ages. One of the best ways to protect yourself this time of year is by getting a flu shot.
You have noticed signs for the flu vaccine already, as the push to get a flu shot usually starts around August or September. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to predict when exactly flu season will start, which is another reason why it is important to be prepared. We like to adopt the mentality of, “the earlier, the better.”
According to research, the number of people who get vaccinated usually drops after November. This could be because people think it’s too late or because they simply aren’t thinking about it anymore. Either way, not getting a flu shot is a big mistake. In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) started the National Influenza Vaccination Week in an effort to remind people to get a flu shot – whether it’s September, October, or even December. Peak flu season usually happens between December and February, but some years we have seen it stretch to as late as April or May.
About the Flu Vaccine
Many people don’t realize this, but it takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to become fully effective and build up immunity in your body. This is why it is so important to get vaccinated sooner than later. As the colder weather creeps in and young and old people alike start to get sick, you want to make sure you and your loved ones are protected. The last thing you want is to have your school year or holiday season ruined by the flu.
The CDC suggests everyone over the age of 6 months be vaccinated against the flu, as influenza is a very serious illness that can affect anyone. While everyone should get the flu shot, the following groups are at a higher risk of complications from the flu virus:
- Young children
- Pregnant women
- People with chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes)
- Adults over the age of 65
With that in mind, let’s look at a few additional reasons why you should get a flu shot this year:
The flu is more serious than you may think
The CDC estimates that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized every year because of the flu, and anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 people die because of the flu annually
Getting the flu shot is the best way to stay healthy
If you want to stay healthy this fall and winter, your best bet is to get the flu shot. According to the CDC, the flu vaccine reduces a person’s risk of getting influenza by 61 percent.
It is often free or covered by insurance
Many clinics, grocery stores, and other local businesses offer the flu in an effort to keep everyone healthy. Because of this, you really have no excuse not to get one!