With school back in session and fall just around the corner, flu season will be here before you know it. The best step you can take to ward off the flu is to get vaccinated.
How can I decrease my chances of getting the flu?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a yearly seasonal flu vaccine is the most important step in protecting against the flu. When the time comes, make an appointment with your primary care doctor to get your vaccine, or visit a local Walgreens or CVS.
How does the flu vaccine work?
It causes antibodies to develop in the body. About two weeks after vaccination, these antibodies provide protection against the flu virus infection, helping you fight off future infections.
Does the vaccine have any side effects?
Some minor side effects that could occur are a low-grade fever, aches, or soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given. Few people experience these side effects, but if they were to occur they would typically begin soon after the shot and usually last one to two days.
Could I still get the flu after the vaccine?
Yes, it’s possible. But while it may not keep you completely flu-free, the vaccine can significantly reduce your symptoms of the flu if you do get it.
Should everyone get the vaccine?
In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu should get vaccinated. The following people should be vaccinated every year:
- Children 6 months and older
- Pregnant women
- Adults 50 and older
- Adults with certain chronic medical conditions
- Adults who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- Adults who live with or care for those at a high risk for complications from the flu
However, there are some people who should not be vaccinated without first consulting a physician.
- Children younger than 6 months (the flu vaccine is not approved for this age group)
- People who have had a severe reaction to the flu vaccination or developed Guillain-Barré syndrome within six weeks of getting the flu vaccine
- People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated)
- People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs
Make an appointment with your primary care provider or visit a local Walgreens or CVS to get your flu shot and stay protected.