Flu Season: When Should I Get My Flu Shot?
Of all of the seasons that come and go throughout the year, flu season is undeniably the least appealing of them all. Unfortunately, flu season is unavoidable. Thanks to modern medicine, we humans have a way to protect ourselves an others from this awful virus.
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When Is Flu Season Really?
The CDC outlines specific parameters that dictate when flu season is said to be starting. These parameters include statistics that show a significant increase in positive flu diagnoses in health care facilities.
Although flu season is known to “start” as the fall begins to roll into town (October-November typically flu season map), a person can catch the flu any time of the year. The flu is just much more prevalent during the colder months for a number of reasons.
Viruses such as the influenza virus prefer the colder months. Viruses thrive in the cold dry air of the fall and winter seasons. Verses the hot and sometimes humid air of the spring and summertime.
Additionally, during these colder month’s folks tend to spend more time huddled together in close quarters. Between holiday parties and just escaping the harsh cold weather, the highly contagious virus can rapidly spread from one host to the next in this opportune environment.
When’s the Best Time to Get My Flu Shot?
Prevention begins with staying ahead of the virus and its rise during the colder months. This is the best thing one could do to prevent the flu within themselves and those they encounter daily. This means getting your flu shot preemptively in the weeks or month preceding the typical start of flu season.
That being said, the CDC typically starts offering flu shots at hospitals and local pharmacies near the end of august or beginning of September. This is so that communities can get a head start on preventive measures.
Taking into consideration that the flu shot can take two to four weeks to actually become effective in the human body, the sooner the better. Waiting until flu season to get vaccinated leaves a gap from administration to the point of effectiveness. This gap is when individuals are still open to contracting the flu during flu season.
Getting a flu shot not only protects the individual who received the shot, but also those around them who are more apt to get the flu. Such as the elderly, or those with an allergy or immune system disorder who cannot receive the flu shot. This protective strategy is known as “herd immunity.”
Will the Flu Shot Cover Me All Flu Season?
Scientists have concluded that the flu shot is most protective within the first three months after receiving it. Although, it’s been proven to last up to six months. This means that individuals do not have a full year of protection. Timing a flu shot correctly can still protect individuals throughout the colder months when the virus is most prevalent, aka flu season. So flu season awareness is important for all ages.
Some of the resources that were used to gather information for this article include the following websites:
The quotes below are additional bits of information from the resource Health.com.
“The intent is to begin to distribute the vaccine before the onset of flu season, and we start as soon as we have the vaccine in order to vaccinate as many [people] as possible,”
The flu is contactable at any time of the year. Just more so in the colder, drier months when people spend more time indoors together. The flu shot is a lifesaving vaccine, but unfortunately, not everyone can receive it.
Those who can get their flu shot should consider getting it at the end of August or the beginning of September. This is so that their body has adequate time to create the anti-bodies they need to defend against the virus.
Protection peaks at three months, giving protection for up to six months. The flu virus is so incredibly debilitating, sometimes even lethal. Individuals who do their due diligence and receive their flu shot earlier in the season are providing protection for themselves as well as those around them.