Last week’s summer-like temperatures and sunshine didn’t really provide the frame of mind for thinking about the next season. No, not winter. The flu season.
Flu rears its ugly head from about October to May with the peak of the U.S. flu season usually being January or February. The abundance of seasonal flu vaccine this year — along with the summery weather — may have made some people complacent about getting inoculated.
Don’t put it off too long. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that it takes about two weeks for vaccinations to produce antibodies to protect the body against the flu. This year’s vaccination contains three strains of flu virus. The strains chosen every year for the vaccine are determined by the likelihood of what strains will be most prevalent for the current season. That’s why getting a shot every year is so important.
Shipments of this year’s vaccine came early and some clinics and pharmacies got the word out that the shot was available in September. That doesn’t mean everyone got their shots early, though. Now it’s already the second week of October: It’s time to cross flu immunization off the to-do list along with the fall furnace inspection.
The CDC advises that everyone age 6 months and older get a flu vaccine. The immunization is especially important for those who are at high risk of developing pneumonia or other complications or who live with those at-risk people.
If needles are your phobia, some local shots are being administered with a shorter needle this year that doesn’t penetrate the muscle, resulting in less soreness. And, of course, for those who would rather receive the nasal mist form of vaccine, that option is available.
It makes sense for everyone to get protection from what can be a deadly illness that is easily spread among the unprotected population.