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Get your flu shot yet? It’s not too late!

Get your flu shot yet? It’s not too late!

It’s true. This year’s flu is nasty, affecting more people than usual. While you may have dodged it so far, keeping your fingers crossed isn’t the best method of prevention. Get a flu shot to avoid this respiratory illness or lessen symptoms if you do get the flu.

Whether you get your immunization before, during, or after National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 5-9), a flu shot will help you stay safe until flu season passes.

When the flu hits the hardest

Flu season begins in the fall, just as school is in full swing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting your annual influenza vaccine in September or October.

Life in NOLA got you too busy for vaccination? Then you’re at increased risk for flu illness affecting you and keeping you from doing the things you love. But don’t give up hope! Getting a flu shot today can help you through the worst of the flu season, which peaks between December and February, according to the CDC.

That means if you’re reading this in mid-December or later, vaccination can still help. Just get it soon, as it takes two weeks or longer to kick in.

If the flu doesn’t let up after the worst months, you can even get the vaccine into the spring months.

Yes, the flu shot is for you

Unless you have a rare medical condition or you’re underage, you need the flu shot every year. It’s safe whether you’re pregnant, allergic to eggs, living with a chronic condition, young (at least 6 months of age), or old.

That said, there are different flu vaccines. Talk with your provider to ensure you receive the best vaccine for you.

For adults over age 65, the options include:

  • High-dose vaccination, which includes a higher concentration of vaccine that provides greater protection.
  • Adjuvanted flu vaccine, which has an extra ingredient and boosts your immune response.

And the vaccine isn’t just for adults. Children are eligible once they reach 6 months.

Make it an annual affair

Fortunately, getting the flu shot is easy. It requires no preparation. Staying hydrated and using over-the-counter pain medication can make recovery a bit easier.

Unfortunately, getting the flu shot once in your life isn’t enough. Flu viruses are tricky and change year from year. To keep up with those changes, researchers develop new vaccines annually. Getting vaccinated every year increases the odds that you’ll avoid the strains of flu in circulation that year. And if you do catch the flu, the vaccine will make illness easier to manage.

Even if the flu virus remained the same every year, you would still need an annual immunization because the amount of vaccine in your body drops over time, making you more likely to get the flu.

This waning vaccine protection may happen faster in older adults. As a result, they shouldn’t get vaccinated too early. To stay safe through the hardest months of the flu season, people over 65 should wait until September for a vaccine.

Yes, a flu vaccine may cause minor side effects. But the slight soreness, swelling, nausea, headache, and fever are nothing compared to the full-blown flu.

Combo the COVID-19 and flu shots

When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, everyone forgot about the flu, colds, and allergies. Now that flu season has taken over headlines, some people have forgotten about COVID-19.

To keep your immune system as strong as possible, stay updated on flu and COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. When you go for your flu shot, ask for your COVID-19 vaccine or booster at the same time. This doubles your protection and helps you stay healthy at work, play, and beyond.

You’ve put off your flu shot long enough. Make an appointment through a Primary Care Provider or by calling 504.962.6202.