It seems like fall has just begun, but we’re already talking about the flu virus.
It is difficult to predict what type of flu will be prominent each year. Flu seasons are unpredictable for a variety of reasons: the timing, severity, and length of the season usually vary from one year to another. Flu season typically peaks between December and February, but physicians are already starting to see some of the first cases.
So, when should you get your flu shot? Now.
“The vaccine takes a couple weeks to become fully effective, so don’t wait until the flu virus is in your area. Later in the season, many places run low on the vaccine, so it’s a good idea to get one while they are readily available and in stock,” said Dr. David Hotchkin, Lead Physician for Influenza Planning at The Oregon Clinic
The flu vaccine is slightly different each year. The vaccine inoculates your body against the strands of the flu virus predicted to be most prevalent in the United States that season. Receiving the flu vaccine drastically reduces your chances of getting the flu virus at all, and if you DO get the virus, your symptoms will be less severe and shorter in duration. The flu vaccine reduces ER visits, hospitalizations, and deaths from the flu virus.
Think the flu vaccine is only for the very young or elderly? Think again!
“The flu is a highly infectious disease, and anyone can get it. If our community is well vaccinated, it reduces the spread of the disease for everyone,” said Dr. Jeffrey Bluhm, Pulmonologist at The Oregon Clinic. The CDC recommends the flu shot to anyone over 6 months of age.