Don't Put Off Getting Your Flu Shot

Don't Put Off Getting Your Flu Shot

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This is not the year to skip getting your flu shot. And it isn’t the year to put it off until you hear people are sick with the flu.

That’s because it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For the best protection, get your flu shot in September or October, the CDC says. It takes about two weeks for the shot to start protecting you. That’s why you shouldn’t wait until the flu season is raging to get your shot.

Getting a flu shot will not protect against COVID-19. But it will cut the risk of getting the flu and the health risks leaving site icon it brings. And it can help reduce the spread of flu, which puts many people in the hospital each year.

Can People Have COVID-19 and Flu?

It is possible to have COVID-19 and flu at the same time. leaving site icon Experts aren’t sure yet how common this will be. 

But the flu alone kills thousands of people each year and sends hundreds of thousands more to the hospital. That’s why the CDC says most people who are six months old or older should get a yearly flu shot.

There are many reasons that this is good advice. leaving site icon You can get the flu from someone who doesn’t know they have it. And dodging the weeks of fever, severe headaches, and muscle aches and pains makes the flu shot worth your time and trouble.

Protecting Others

Your decision to get a flu shot will also help protect other members of your community. leaving site icon That includes older people, children and pregnant women.

It also includes people of all ages who have health problems like asthma or diabetes. They’re all among those who have the highest risk of getting serious, even life-threatening, complications if they get the flu.

Don’t put off talking to your doctor about getting your flu shot.

Sources: Influenza (Flu): What are the benefits of flu vaccination?, leaving site icon  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2021; Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions: 2021-2022 Season, leaving site icon  CDC, 2020; Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine, leaving site icon  CDC, 2021; Seasonal Flu and COVID-19, leaving site icon  CDC, 2022
Originally published 7/27/2020; Revised 2022